Published on May 07, 2018

Cooper Drudge Exemplifies Mysteries of Recovery

Cooper Drudge works with Occupational Therapist Nakia Tuttle

As any child his age would be, Cooper Drudge of LeClaire was excited about knowing in advance what his presents would be for his fifth birthday.

He had been told his mom, Jackie, was shopping and would be bringing home his gifts.

He was in his bedroom on the second floor. He knew the presents had been left in the car and he was trying to sneak a glance out the window. On a comfortable night, the window was open but was covered by a screen.

The screen popped out and Cooper tumbled out the window to the driveway below.

From that instant on, the entire family also tumbled into a journey of recovery with Cooper, who suffered life-threatening injuries to his neck, spine and brain from the fall.

His condition became more complex while awaiting transfer by helicopter to the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. Cooper suffered a stroke on the left side of his brain.

“The neurology staff told us Cooper had a 2 to 9 percent chance of survival and, if he did survive, he probably would never again walk, eat or breathe on his own,’’ Jackie Drudge explained. “They said he would not have much quality of life.’’

The accident happened on June 26, 2017. Cooper was in a medically induced coma for a couple days. He remained in a coma for nearly three more weeks. He underwent a left side hemicraniectomy to allow swelling and promote healing of his brain.

Recovery Can Be Unpredictable

Cooper walks with his mom, Jackie.

Previously unable to walk, Cooper can now cover
an entire hallway without a problem.

Therapists will point out rehabilitation is different for everyone. It can be precisely predictable, or deeply mysterious. By all measures, Cooper Drudge’s recovery has been a remarkable mystery.

Less than a year after the accident, Cooper walks, talks, expresses his emotions, smiles and plays.

He has memory of what he had learned in pre-school prior to the accident. He can identify colors, shapes and numbers from 1 through 10.

Four days a week, Cooper Drudge, his mother, and 4-year-old sister, Emma, attend therapy sessions at the Genesis Outpatient Pediatric Therapy Center (GOPEDS) in Bettendorf. He receives physical therapy, speech therapy and occupational therapy.

He has no difficulty walking the entire hallway and back.

Cooper “Wows” Mom, Staff

Cooper smiles with his mother, Jackie, and his sister, Emma.

Cooper smiles with his mother, Jackie, and his sister, Emma.

When he started at GOPEDS on Sept. 5, Cooper had difficulty sitting upright, was unable to walk, talk, stand or sit independently. He had difficulty eating and was unable to move his right arm or hand.

He had a line to give him nutrition. Now he only needs the line for supplemental fluid intake.

“We look at him every day now and think ‘oh, wow,’’’ Jackie said. “He has made so much progress. His cognitive ability is coming back. He can understand everything you tell him.’’

He is eating regular foods, talks and the use of his right arm and hand is improving. He will reach another milestone in the fall when he is enrolled in kindergarten.

And, he will be playing Challenger League Baseball this summer.

The baseball experience may help Cooper round the bases on May 25 when he is recognized by the Quad City River Bandits. This season Home Runs for Life will recognize the recoveries of four GOPEDS clients with Cooper leading off.

Learn more about the Genesis Outpatient Pediatric Therapy Center.

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