BWWMH therapy gets Marler on his feet again

Published 8:28 pm Monday, July 12, 2010

On May 7, 2009, John Marler and his wife, Brenda, were riding their bicycles around the Lower Pool Park when their ride took a turn for the worst.

“For whatever reason, I hit a bump or turned my wheel too quickly — I’m really not sure,” John said. “I just knew I was going down. From that, I sustained a spinal cord injury.

He was taken to the University of Alabama at Birmingham, where it was determined that he broke the fourth vertebra of his neck.

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John began his rehabilitation at Spain Rehabilitation Center in Birmingham for a couple of months, then went to Glen Haven Health and Rehabilitation in Tuscaloosa under Dr. Bony Barrineau.

“I was there for another couple of months, then came home, and I had out-patient care from Bryan Whitfield,” he said. “Since then, I’ve been going to out-patient therapy at the hospital.

“I wheeled in on a wheelchair, and (therapist Don Spruell) saw what I had done in therapy, and he told me he didn’t want to see this wheelchair in his therapy session any more. From that time, I just walked in on the walker.”

John said the therapy treatments have worked wonders for him, and he credits his own strength and faith for getting him through the sessions.

“First of all, the thing that has brought me through all of this is faith, my family and my friends,” he said. “That’s what sustained me, and this young lady right here — my wife, Brenda — who is my personal caretaker, 24/7. She has just been super.”

John also credits the physical therapy department of Bryan W. Whitfield Memorial Hospital for helping him get back in shape.

“Don and the girls have just been super,” he said. “That is a top-notch physical therapy outfit. They worked me pretty hard. They started me out three days a week until the last couple of weeks, when we tapered off.

“It has been an amazing recovery. I can use hand crutches now. I still use the wheelchair to zip about and to get some rest, but I have come from being flat on my back a little over a year ago, not being able to move my arms or legs to doing a little movement. Over the last several weeks, it just seems like we’ve made some monumental gains.”

Through his inner strength and encouragement from family and friends, John Marler has been able to get better through the therapy at BWWMH.

“The Demopolis community has just been wonderful and so supportive,” he said. “People walking down the street come in and say, ‘How are you? We’ve been praying about you.’ It’s been a very therapeutic, healing area, to be in Demopolis, and we will certainly miss the therapy center at the hospital.”