Red Sox Rehab Success Story

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Earlier this year, ESPN’s E:60 program chronicled the amazing story of Ryan Westmoreland, the 19-year-old Red Sox player who had brain surgery last year. At one point in the video, a friend noticed Kinesio Tape on Ryan’s face.
We got hold of Varsha Desai, his OT at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, and she told us:

“Ryan had lower motor neuron facial palsy affecting the left side of his face. That caused his inability to close his left eye, smile, puff, whistle, etc.  I used taping to facilitate movement and improve symmetry of the face. After taping, immediately the patient could close his eye and blink voluntarily. Taping doesn’t require the patient to use sticky tape at night to close his eye passively or to use medicated ointment to prevent dryness. Their speech improves, as does their ability to chew and to drink without spilling.”

In March 2010 Gordon Edes had reported on Westmorelands condition on the northeast edition of in Red Sox Rehab Story.

Boston Red Sox prospect Ryan Westmoreland underwent brain surgery Tuesday that was successful, according to a statement from the team Tuesday night, but faces a “difficult period” in the aftermath of the five-hour operation.

The Red Sox said Tuesday that Ryan Westmoreland’s five-hour brain surgery was successful.

A complete prognosis will not be known for a few days, a team source said, adding that the surgery “went well” for the 19-year-old Rhode Island native, who had a cavernous malformation, or angioma, removed from his brain stem.
An angioma is a congenital condition comprised of small abnormal capillaries (tiny blood vessels) that can swell and bleed. The condition, while potentially life-threatening, has a low mortality rate, but there is a risk of neurological damage that could affect a variety of functions, including movement and vision.

“Due to the complexity of this surgery, Ryan will face a difficult period initially before beginning his recovery,” said the statement, attributed to Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein.

Tuesday’s surgery was performed by Dr. Robert Spetzler of the Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix, Ariz. Spetzler is acknowledged as one of the foremost experts in the field.



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