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Local parents advocate for son with traumatic brain injury

August 17, 2019 | 3:26 am

Updated August 23, 2019 | 3:07 pm

Melissa Logsdon helps son, Jansen, participate in Lil' Sluggers T-ball. | Photo by Ryan Richardson

In 2014, Jansen Lewis suffered a traumatic brain injury caused by shaken baby syndrome. Despite a poor diagnosis, Jansen’s parents, Melissa Logsdon and Gary Lewis, were hopeful, believing that Jansen could thrive with the right care.

Gary Lewis and Melissa Logsdon with son, Jansen. | Photo by Ryan Richardson

Since Jansen’s injury at 7 months old, Logsdon and Lewis have been committed to providing their son with the best recoveries and therapies, demonstrating that Jansen’s parents’ love knows no bounds.

“The doctors say the injury left him with about 8 percent of his brain matter,” Logsdon said.

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Seeking alternatives that could help their son, Jansen’s parents pursued various physical therapies, of which water therapy seemed to be the most beneficial.

“When Jansen initially came home from the hospital after the injury, we tried to swim with him as a form of therapy,” Logsdon said. “At the time, Jansen could not move the right side of his body. After a few swimming sessions, he began developing a range of motion.”

It became even clearer that water therapy would play a large role in recovery as Jansen took his first steps during a water therapy session at the Owensboro Health Healthpark.

As Jansen continued to participate in the Healthpark’s water therapy, his parents continued to enroll him in other therapies to aid in recovery. Their determination to provide the best care for their son led them to Winter Park, Fla., where Jansen completed three rounds of intense therapy. Each round consisted of therapy lasting four to five hours a day, five days a week.

Throughout the intense therapy, Logsdon and Lewis believed there had to be a therapy that elicited as much response while still helping with muscle recovery. They were drawn to the facility’s flotation pods.

“It was in my mind how well he responded to the water therapy at the Healthpark. I thought if I could introduce water therapy, combined with the intensity of the pharmaceutical grade Epsom salt, it would provide some much needed relief,” Logsdon said.

His first session lasted around seven minutes. Despite the short amount of time, the therapy gave him better eye focus. His tone and spasticity decreased and he was jabbering non-stop.

“I became increasingly interested in it because of all of the positive benefits we had seen,” she said.

After seeing Jansen’s positive response to flotation therapy, Logsdon and Lewis sought to bring flotation therapy to their hometown for their son’s benefit, eventually opening the Free Your Mind wellness center on Parrish Avenue so they can help their son while also helping others.

Free Your Mind wellness offers services that decrease sensory stimulation, which is helpful for those with autism, PTSD and traumatic brain injuries, among other conditions.

Logsdon and Lewis continue to seek cutting edge therapies and programs in which their son can participate, which led to Jansen’s placement in an exclusive spinal cord program.

Jansen spent the summer developing his locomotor and muscle memory skills in Louisville as part of a spinal research group. Jansen was the first brain injury survivor to be admitted to the group, making his admission groundbreaking.

After a long summer, Jansen entered the school year as a kindergartner. The 5-year-old splits his time between class, therapy and t-ball, where Logsdon continues to go above and beyond for her son.

Jansen plays T-ball for Pleasant Grove Baptist Church where Logsdon “wears” her son so that he can participate since he is unable to run on his own.

“I have a belt that goes around my waist and he has a vest that he straps on,” she said. “It gets my hands free so I can help him bat.”

Photo by Ryan Richardson

Logsdon and Lewis’ determination to help their son play the sport he loves serves as reminder that there is nothing Jansen’s parents will not do for their son.

August 17, 2019 | 3:26 am

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