Maximizing Potential
The story of Michael Jensen

When 10 year old Michael Jensen was attacked by three American bulldogs near his home in the summer of 2007, he suffered serious injuries to the right side of his face, left arm and elbow and both legs.

With the help of his physical therapist Dave Clark at the Northwest Center for Children’s Rehabilitation at St. Luke’s in Spokane, Washington, Michael is rising above the odds and on his way to achieving his goals. He is already planning his future. “I want to play football and join the Army.”

After the attack, he spent 12 nights in the hospital, receiving therapy from a St. Luke’s on-site therapist, he was able to walk again and start to move his arm. But his road to recovery was just beginning. He needed extensive physical healing and tissue mobility, and beyond that he needed emotional healing.

“His humor and stubbornness has really helped him,” said his therapist Dave. “He is a trooper, and humor really helps him heal.” Focusing on Michael’s scar tissue and muscle damage, Dave has helped Michael increase his range of motion while breaking up the scar tissue and decreasing his pain. “His ongoing therapy is focused on tissue mobility and making sure he continues to have function without stiffness and to reduce pain so he has the best opportunities to live life how he wants.”

“When I started therapy, the scars were like a rock and I couldn’t do much,” said Michael. The tissue was very tender, and even the deepest tissue was continuing to repair. With the help of Dave, Michael is seeing progress. “Dave is really good and really fun. He doesn’t go that hard in the beginning until you get to know him. When I started therapy I would get sort of sore but now I feel happy. It feels good, and even when it hurts it is the good kind and I know it is making me better.”

Even Michael’s mom, Janel, sees a difference. “Therapy has been great. We can see a difference in his shoulder and other areas.” And Dave helps her continue Michael’s therapy at home too. “He shows me exactly what to do and answers my questions so I can do the best job at home too,” said Janel.

For Michael, however, it is all about seeing Dave – his favorite part of coming to therapy. When asked what he would tell others about therapy, Michael says, “Therapy is really fun and can help you with what you want to do.”