Lamar Odom Will Need Months of Therapy

Now that death is behind him, Lamar Odom’s recovery has entered a new phase. Awaiting him and his battered body and brain is a rough journey of reacclimation. His new challenge is larger than anything he had to deal with on the basketball court, tougher than any NBA Finals loss. Odom has to regain language and body functions through teaching. He is a student all over again as he has to be taught how to live in the world as an independent person.

How long it will take is hard to gauge because the body responds differently to trauma from person to person. All the clinicians and physicians can do is give an estimation, and in Odom’s case, it is somewhere in the gray area of many months. It leads one to wonder: will he be the same Lamar Odom as he was before? Or, has his life changed forever?

According to multiple reports, Lamar Odom’s doctor’s are telling his family that he will need speech therapy and physical therapy, occupational therapy and a host of other clinicians working with him over the next few months as Odom has suffered permanent damage to his body, and perhaps his brain. However, it is too early to determine exactly how that damage will effect Odom in his long term effort to regain cognitive and physical skill. He suffered an incredible trauma that almost killed him, an ischemic stroke. The old saying, the body keeps score, the body always wins, is true in the case of Lamar Odom.

Despite how long it seems, it hasn’t even been a week since Odom was rushed to Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center in Las Vegas because he collapsed. His survival is seen as a medical miracle. He was unconscious for up to three days, in a coma. But Odom was the victim of trauma and the consequences are often extreme whenever the brain is involved.

By defintion, a stroke is a brain injury event, creating damage to the different cortexes and lobes, creating nuerological stress, chaos and reorgainzation. The severity of the stroke, in Odom’s case, will be understood over time. And felt. The implications are long term where quality of life is often altered because of the change in what the body can do and what that body can no longer do.

Often there is speech impairment and memory loss. Over the weekend, it was reported that Odom’s speech was often in mumbles which is typical of stroke victims who need language therapy and help in organizing their thoughts.

This is a bittersweet ending to a tragic story. Lamar Odom, that gifted, athletic, can play all five positions NBA champion, made a living because his superior body had the agility, talent, and proficiency to do things normal men just could not. And yet here he is, the miracle who defied death but who has to relearn how to live life.

photo via llananba