Cerebral Palsy Patient Meets Goals, Surpasses Them

Boomer, a huge Florida football fan,
developed a friendship with Tim Tebow
several years ago. Now Boomer's goal
is to play professional football or 
baseball one day. 
Put a challenge in front of Boomer, and the 11-year-old will stop at nothing to top it.

"He thrives on competition," said his mother, Brooke Hornbeck. "His goal is to either play professional football or professional baseball, someway or somehow."

With the hard work Boomer has done at Children's, he is getting closer to those goals.

Coming to Children's

Brooke gave birth to Boomer (whose birth name is Peter) at 28 weeks because she was suffering from preeclampsia, a disease in pregnant women that can cause high blood pressure.

After about a year and a half, Brooke noticed that Boomer had not met key developmental milestones. A neurologist in Florida, where the family lived at the time, diagnosed Boomer with schizencephaly, a developmental birth defect, and cerebral palsy.

Spasticity in his legs made him unable to walk without the help of a walker. He was also unable to use his left arm, which was turned away from his body with the hand in a fist.

Boomer and Brooke moved to Locust Grove, Ga., when he was 4 years old. Brooke went to Timothy Oswald, M.D., a pediatric orthopaedic surgeon at our Egleston hospital, to see how he could help her son. She was only expecting Dr. Oswald to help Boomer manage his condition as he got older.

"I had no idea Dr. Oswald would say that we were going to make it so his life was different, so he could be independent," she said.

Mutual Bond

Dr. Oswald brought Boomer in for tendon-lengthening surgery in 2009, extending his hamstrings and hip abductors to help with the spasticity in his legs.

The surgeon and patient bonded over an appreciation for University of Florida football. When Boomer's grandfather arranged for him to meet former Florida coach Urban Meyer, Dr. Oswald said he wanted Boomer to be able to walk a few steps to introduce himself.

"He pushed Boomer so hard, but it is unbelievable the progress he has made because of Dr. Oswald and Children's," Brooke said.

Boomer continued to receive botox injections with Dr. Oswald to help with the spasticity. In January, Boomer had another surgery to correct the angle of one of his feet and to help him start to use his left arm. Dr. Oswald brought in Justin R. Kunes, M.D., also a pediatric orthopaedic surgeon at Egleston, to assist with the surgery on Boomer's left arm

Setting Goals

Between each procedure, Boomer received physical and occupational therapy at our Children's at Fayette location. His therapists, Kelly Peczka and Jamie Shumock, set several goals for him.

But Boomer had one goal he set for himself—to be out of a wheelchair before he started the sixth grade.

Boomer's therapists worked on building his range of motion, strengthening his legs and core and learning how to walk correctly. They also taught him how to use his left arm.

"I'm constantly amazed at how they go above and beyond," Brooke said. "It is like all of these doctors and therapists are here just for Boomer. That is how it feels."

Boomer's hard work, combined with his successful surgeries and effective physical therapy, helped him walk into his first sixth-grade class in August.

"Children's has been life-changing for him," Brooke said. "It has provided him with a life I don't think he would have had."