On September 12th, 2014, James McGinnis, a 165-pound starting linebacker for Olathe East High School, stepped onto the football field at the Olathe District Athletic Complex for one of his last senior year games. Late into the third quarter, James made a move to assist on a tackle and then collapsed on the field shortly after. James’ coaches, teammates, friends, and family rushed to his side as he lay unresponsive on the field.
James was rushed to Overland Park Regional Medical Center where it was determined he had suffered a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) with a subdural hematoma from the impact of the tackle. James then spent several days in the Intensive Care Unit before transferring to a rehab facility out of state. After completing several months of inpatient rehabilitation, James and his family were ready to come back home and start outpatient therapy in Kansas City.
The McGinnis family was contacted online by Marcy Mudd and Allison Ogden, mothers of young stroke survivors who received services at Rehabilitation Institute of Kansas City (RIKC) in the Adolescent Day Program. They highly recommended RIKC for James’ outpatient treatment. After a tour the family knew RIKC was where James needed to be.
James started in the Adolescent Day Program at RIKC receiving physical, occupational and speech therapy services, as well as classroom instruction. James transitioned to the Adult Day Program after high school graduation and focused on the same therapy goals. The team approach and intensity of therapy has helped him reach his initial goal of improving balance and endurance. He has also experienced significant progress with his speech thanks to combined speech and physical therapy sessions. James continues to work hard to improve his short term memory.
As an athlete James has always been very goal driven. Before the year anniversary of his injury, James set a goal to walk 100 yards. Almost exactly a year later, James attended the Olathe East vs. Olathe South football game. At halftime he picked up a football and walked it 100 yards down the field and into the end zone. Since then James has set a new goal he wants to tackle – college.
Before his injury James wanted to go to school to be a chemical engineer. Now has been looking into Physical and Occupational Therapy programs. He is currently enrolled at Johnson County Community College on his pursuit of higher education.