Speaks to Patients with Brain Injuries
Actor Henry Winkler, who is best known for his role as The Fonz on Happy Days, made a special visit to St. Joseph’s Barrow Neurological Institute today. Winkler spoke with the hospital’s brain injury patients about stroke and its effects.
During Winkler’s visit, he shared his personal story about his mother’s struggle with upper limb spasticity, a debilitating and often under diagnosed condition which can occur after a stroke, brain injury or spinal cord injury.
Winkler has been widely quoted about how much the opportunity to speak with patients means to him and was thrilled to be able to spend some time at Barrow, one of the top neuroscience centers in the world.
“I personally know how crucial it is to have access to resources that can help you or your loved one recognize the symptoms of upper limb spasticity, understand why the condition occurs, and, importantly, how it’s diagnosed and managed.”
The Open Arms Campaign was created to raise awareness for upper limb spasticity and help reach more people affected by the condition.
Often described as uncomfortable muscle stiffness or tightness in the elbow, wrist or fingers, upper limb spasticity is a debilitating condition that impacts a person’s life. Upper limb spasticity is caused from a lesion or injury to the central nervous system which affects the motor pathways of the brain. It is often under-recognized because it can occur weeks, months or even years after an individual’s original injury.
“We’re honored that Henry chose to visit Barrow and our patients”, says Christina Kwasnica, MD, medical director of Barrow’s Neuro Rehab program. “Henry is an ambassador who can personally relate to our patients and their caregivers and it’s important that he’s helping us raise awareness about upper limb spasticity.”
Barrow is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. Winkler is not the only celebrity to visit the hospital recently. Muhammad Ali came to Barrow at St. Joseph’s last week to honor the institute and its doctors for their major contributions to medicine.