HEALTHBEAT 4: Young stroke survivor takes steps to recovery - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

HEALTHBEAT 4: Young stroke survivor takes steps to recovery


Fifteen-year-old Sam Vaught spends almost 15 hours a week undergoing intense therapy to regain movement.

"That's one thing to be aware of.  Stroke can happen to anybody," said Justin Vaught, Sam's father.

The life-changing medical emergency hit Sam almost seven-months ago.

First a headache, then vomiting.

"There was a blood clot that formed between point A the heart and point B the carotid," said Justin Vaught.

Doctors don't know for sure what caused the massive bleed.

But, the damage was severe.  seventy-five percent of the right side of his brain impacted.

After emerging from three weeks in a coma, Sam didn't even have the muscle strength to even get out of bed.

"On my end it's patience.  For his part, it's hard work and determination," said Justin Vaught.

Sam spent three months in an inpatient treatment facility.

He's back at school and meets three times a week with Physical Therapist Dr. Tim Saulsbury.

"I have been at this at more than 20 years.  Maybe a couple a three times I have seen young people like this have stroke.  Not very many," said Dr. Saulsbury.

Dr. Saulsbury measures Sam's progress by small steps.

His left side still partially paralyzed.  

"While Sam is bearing weight with his left arm he's drawing with his right arm," said Saulsbury.

But, the shear force of his work ethic and young age should move things along.

"When someone give the effort he has given.  They are going to, one he is pleasure to work with.  And two, they are guaranteed success," said Dr. Saulsbury.

Sam's dad says facing such a crisis made the bond with his son and four other children stronger.

"It's changed our lifestyle.  It's changed how we think of the future and how we cherish our kids."

And Sam, shy even before the stroke, wants to share one simple message.

"Anybody can come back from a stroke," said Sam Vaught, stroke survivor.  

Sam who is a freshman at Hinton High School travels to the Madonna Rehabilitation Hospital in Lincoln, Nebraska for outpatient treatment.
It's the same place where he spent three months in recovery.

Friends and family have organized a benefit to help the Vaught family.
It takes place on Tuesday, March 8 in Sioux City at the LaunchPAD Children's Museum from 6 until 9 p.m.

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