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Stroke Survivor Overcomes Challenges with Help from Chiropractic Care

Thirteen years ago, 32-time marathoner Jim Indelicato was running errands when he suddenly felt ill. He called his daughter, a nurse, who met him on the side of the road along with an ambulance. After several tests at the hospital, Jim learned he had suffered a brain stem stroke.

“I was retired less than a year from the Air National Guard after a 40-year military career, and I was in great shape,” said Jim. “It was a shock when this stroke happened, and I knew I was lucky to be alive.”

After two months in the hospital, he was released and came home on a ventilator and tracheostomy tube. Jim, a hard worker and natural-born athlete, was determined to heal and walk again. He started receiving treatment at Logan Health Center at the Stephen A. Orthwein Center at Paraquad, and eventually transferred to Logan’s Montgomery Health Center.

“Paraquad was an amazing experience and working with the Logan clinicians there really helped Jim. With him being so determined, he wanted to continue to work on certain goals, so we came to Montgomery Health Center,” said Diane Indelicato, Jim’s wife. “At the time, he was having a hard time swallowing and he needed to work on his balance.”

Jesse Politowski, DC (’13), is a faculty clinician at Montgomery Health Center and has been overseeing Jim Indelicato’s treatment for the past few months.

“Everyone at Logan knows and loves Jim and Diane. I met them when I started working at Logan in 2021, but I recently took over Jim’s care after his previous clinician recommended me,” said Dr. Politowski.

While originally visiting Montgomery Health Center three times a week, the Indelicatos now only visit twice a week due to Jim’s improvements.

“We do a lot of different things with Jim,” explained Dr. Politowski. “One technique we have performed is cranial adjustments, which help with swallowing and gagging. We also do a lot with vestibular balance coordination to try and better his balance.”

Diane says she has noticed Jim’s balance improve significantly, and he is able to walk with a walker and is practicing walking with a cane. His swallowing has also gotten better, and he is able to eat solid foods.

“We can’t say enough good things about the work he has done with the students and doctors at the Montgomery Health Center,” said Diane. “They have encouraged him and pushed him to improve, and he has responded to it. It’s incredible the vast scope that chiropractic treatment can reach and how many different areas it can help improve.”

The students also can’t say enough good things about the Indelicatos.

“I actually met Jim and Diane last trimester in the Health Center,” explained Allie Foddrill, trimester 8 Doctor of Chiropractic (DC) student. “They’re very personable people and after getting to know them, I kind of begged to work with Jim this trimester.”

As a teaching clinic, the Montgomery Health Center employs students approaching their final trimesters in the DC program. As a result, Jim sees a new student clinician every trimester. He is currently working with Allison.

“I told Jim at our first appointment that we needed to make a game plan, and together we have figured one out that is really making a difference,” said Allison. “His goal now is to fully walk with a cane, so we have been focusing a ton on his balance.”

Between appointments at the Health Center and home exercises, Jim doesn’t quit.

“Jim is very motivated and consistent with his exercise. He will go as hard as you push him,” said Dr. Politowski. “His goal to walk independently with a cane will be hard, and probably take time, but Jim likes the challenge. He doesn’t have a quit button, and everyone here admires that.”

Jim and Diane said everyone on the Logan staff are incredibly supportive and the front desk team is always attentive. The Indelicatos have been grateful for the high level of knowledge and diagnostic ability the doctors have at Montgomery Health Center.

“Jim fell in the garage one day, and I took him to our primary care doctor, who prescribed him some anti-inflammatory medication after a quick examination,” said Diane. “I brought him to Montgomery Health Center, and the doctors immediately noticed one of his ribs was out of place, so they began working on it. Within a couple of days, he was doing much better. It’s remarkable all they do here.”

While his prognosis after the stroke was uncertain, Jim is doing better than anyone could have anticipated, largely due to the work he has done at the Montgomery Health Center.

“Jim is treated so well here,” said Diane. “He feels like a rock star because everyone knows his name and appreciates his determination and hard work. The students and doctors here are amazing, and every time we come in, they have new suggestions and different ideas for Jim—even as far as doing cranial adjustments, which have been incredibly effective. We are lucky to be able to bring him here to continue his recovery.”

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