Skill and Strength

Covenant Health Therapy Center-West Knoxville Motivates Patients to Succeed

Tied into a tree about 50 feet in the air, arborist Matt Gregory didn’t give much thought to the height of his perch. The height, however, mattered a great deal as soon as the unthinkable
happened. “The part of the tree that I was tied into broke while I was working,” Gregory says. “I fell approximately 50 feet to the  ground.” Gregory, 29, doesn’t remember anything else from that day in late May last year and doesn’t  remember his hospitalization. After inpatient rehabilitation, he was discharged and took his next steps at Covenant Health Therapy Center-West Knoxville.

From the Ground Up

Matt and girlfriend getting readyf or a bike ride
Last summer, Matt Gregory rented a recumbent bike and enjoyed a ride with girlfriend
Brittany Myers, something that would have been impossible before therapy. Today, he’s
back on his regular bike and keeps moving forward.

“Matt sustained a traumatic brain injury and a dislocated wrist affecting his  left forearm and hand,” says occupational therapist Bethany Edmond. “His arm was in a cast when
he first started therapy. He had severe vision impairments and trouble with balance and coordination in both legs and arms. He had trouble with memory and problem- solving, as well as severe weakness and difficulty with body awareness.” Gregory, a lifelong athlete, was very suddenly forced to completely change his way of  life. His mind wasn’t functioning the way it was supposed to and neither was his body.

As he began speech therapy, physical therapy and occupational therapy with such a long  way to go, it would have been easy to lose hope. He says Edmond wouldn’t let him.
“She helped me have a good mindset,” Gregory says. “To get to where I wanted to be, I  would have to work hard. She helped instill that into me.” With comprehensive treatment from Covenant Health Therapy Center-West Knoxville combined with his hard work and dedication, Gregory sailed through speech therapy and physical therapy.  Finishing occupational therapy was harder. “He required extensive occupational therapy to work on sensory reeducation,  coordination, range of motion and strength of his left arm, and vision skills,” Edmond says.

A Strategy for Success

Edmond used physical movement and neuromuscular electrical stimulation to help Gregory’s severely atrophied muscles relearn how to function. She also used a special technique to help manage spasms in his arm that were happening be- cause of involuntary muscle signals, a result of the brain injury. Edmond also as- signed exercises for Gregory to do at home. If Gregory became discouraged by his limitations, he would remember to be grateful for what  he could do and then keep moving forward. Just being able to move his fingers individually was a big win. “Bethany has been good about challenging me,” Gregory says. “When I first started, it was so  hard I thought, ‘I can’t do it.’ But the more I did it, I just kept practicing and I would  finally be able to do it.”

Bethany Edmond headshot
Bethany Edmond, Clinical
Specialist, Occupational

Edmond carefully analyzed and modified the therapy step by step, creating just the right level of challenge. She took components of the physical aspects of his job and the workouts Gregory had enjoyed doing before his fall and incorporated those movements into his therapy.

Moving On

The results are evident. Gregory has come a long way. “ Now I can walk without a walking stick,” he says, “I can actually jog, I can bike and I’m back to working out.” Appreciative of the work done inside the walls of Covenant Health Therapy Center-West Knoxville, Gregory says he is just as thankful for the way his care has extended beyond those  walls. The therapy center staff made it clear that he could reach out for help or ask  questions at any time, even after being discharged.

Matt using walking stick
At the time Matt Gregory began occupational, physical and
speech therapy at Covenant Health Therapy Center-West
Knoxville, he moved slowly and with the assistance of a
walking stick.

Edmond praises her patient for his hard work and great attitude. She says helping  patients like Gregory regain quality of life is what makes her work so rewarding. “Covenant Health Therapy Center-West Knoxville really believes in the team approach in helping  our patients recover,” Edmond says. “The relationships we build with our patients, the trust they  put in us and the amazing outcomes we see keep us doing this job day in and day out.”

To learn more about Covenant Health Therapy Centers, visit

Specialists in Therapy

Covenant Health Therapy Center–West Knoxville, a department of Parkwest Medical Center, is dedicated to providing exceptional physical therapy and individualized treatment. In addition to traditional physical therapy, a variety of specialty services help a wide range of patients achieve the best quality of life after life-altering incidents.

Specialty Services:

  • Amputee Rehabilitation: Physical therapists help patients prepare for surgery and regain strength, movement and function following surgery.
  • Aquatic therapy: Performed in water, which creates buoyancy and decreases pain and stress on weight-bearing joints.
  • Astym® treatment: Regenerates healthy soft tissue and eliminates or reduces scar tissue that may be causing pain or loss of motion. Frequently prescribed for athletes, “weekend warriors,”post-surgical patients and chronic sufferers.
  • Cancer rehabilitation: Addresses post-operative limitations, energy conservation, home
    modification and ways to make daily activities easier while undergoing cancer treatment.
  • Certified hand therapy: Provides the highest level of competency and skill in the treatment of
    hands and upper extremities to assure maximal recovery.
  • Dizziness/vertigo: An exercise-based approached aimed at eliminating or minimizing imbalance and dizziness associated with vestibular (inner ear) disorders.
  • Dry Needling: A technique physical therapists use for the treatment of pain and movement impairments. It uses a small needle (called a “dry” needle) in conjunction with other PT
  • Headache therapy: Treatment of cervicogenic headaches, or headaches caused by tightness in the neck muscles.
  • LSVT BIG and LOUD: By exaggerating body motion and speech, this therapy helps minimize impairments caused by Parkinson’s disease.
  • Lymphedema treatment: Therapy to reduce swelling caused by lymphedema, with a focus on maintaining healthy skin and preventive measures to reduce the risk of lymphedema.
  • Manual therapy: Skilled hand movements of joints and soft tissue intended to improve tissue extensibility, increase range of motion, induce relaxation, modulate pain or reduce swelling.
  • McKenzie Method: Provides superior functional outcomes for back, neck and extremity problems. Emphasizes education and active patient involvement to quickly decrease pain, restore normal function, prevent a recurrence and minimize other medical interventions.
  • Occupational therapy: Highly certified and experienced occupational therapists work to improve basic motor function and compensate for any permanent loss of function.
  • Pelvic Health (Men and Women): Encompasses issues of the gastrointestinal, urologic, gynecologic and musculoskeletal disorders surrounding the pelvis. Treatment helps to improve function and limit pain associated with these systems in the body.
  • Speech therapy: Focuses on improving speech, language, swallowing and cognitive abilities.
  • TMJ dysfunction: Temporomandibular joint dysfunction can limit natural jaw function such as chewing and talking, and can cause pain. Treatment helps ease pain, regain normal jaw movement and lessen daily stress on the jaw.

If you think specialty services at Covenant Therapy Center-West Knoxville could help you or someone you care about, call (865) 531-5710 for more information.

News & Articles

Covenant Health