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Matt adopts ‘whatever it takes’ approach to rehabilitation following stroke


Five months after graduating from Mary Free Bed’s Stroke Program, Matt Rorabaugh continues to make great strides in his recovery from a massive stroke.

“I feel great, so fortunate,” Matt said.

Building on his efforts in Mary Free Bed’s inpatient program, Matt’s continued with physical, occupational and speech-language therapies near his Morley home two-three times a week. He’s now walking without a cane and can go up and down stairs without assistance.

“My independence has improved,” he said. “My quality of living is better.”

He enjoys going for walks with his wife and to sporting events with his kids. He’s looking forward to eventually returning to his job with Purina and has his eyes set on running a 5k this spring.

“I’m thankful to be back to who I was before, and it’s because of Mary Free Bed,” Matt said. “You don’t know what tomorrow will bring, but if you work hard, you can get back to it.”

Matt and two of his treatment team members, physical therapist Lauren Lenca and speech-language pathologist Brooke McNamara, appeared on WOOD-TV’s “eightWest” to talk about his recovery. They also shared the signs of a stroke.

Matt Rorabaugh at WOOD TV 8

: Matt Rorabaugh, a Mary Free Bed Stroke Program alum, appeared on WOOD-TV’s “eightWest” with, from left, host Terri DeBoer and his Mary Free Bed treatment team members Brooke McNamara and Lauren Lenca.

Original post: October 16, 2019

Matt Rorabaugh taught his children that being on time was arriving too late. His rule of thumb: Be there 10 minutes early. So, when Matt was late for a May 29 meeting on a business trip in Iowa City, Iowa, his co-workers knew something was wrong.

“All I remember is waking up on the floor of the shower” in his hotel room, Matt said. “The tub was filling up with water. It was halfway up my face.”

He tried to get up, but the left side of his body wasn’t responding. He fell again, hitting his head on the side of the tub.

He could hear his phone ringing.

Unable to reach Matt, his co-workers called the hotel, and employees broke into his room.

Matt Rorabaugh walking out of Mary Free Bed on July 30

Matt Rorabaugh walks out of Mary Free Bed on July 30

Matt, 48, had experienced a stroke. He was transported by ambulance to University of Iowa Hospital, where he underwent emergency surgery.  A week later, Matt was stable enough to begin intensive rehabilitation and came to Mary Free Bed.

“I came in on a stretcher,” Matt said. “It will be the proudest day of my life when I walk out of here.”

Matt, his family and his team of therapists adopted a “whatever it takes” approach to his rehabilitation.

“Matt’s ‘whatever it takes’ mantra helped personally motivate him, and it became something I could use in his therapy as well,” said occupational therapist Jason Bomia.

Matt said his Mary Free Bed team encouraged him to “rebuild me.”

“We worked with him day in and day out,” said Brooke McNamara, a speech-language pathologist. “I knew he really cared about us, and we really cared about him.”

When Matt graduated July 30 from the Stroke Program, he realized his goal to walk out the doors of Mary Free Bed. He’s continuing his recovery with outpatient therapy near his Morley home.

Learn more about Matt’s journey in this video:


Leslie Faun Parish

My daughter is a nurse In Iowa city, at Iowa University Hospital great place.


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