Hope and determination help stroke survivor walk again


Wilson Goss PLEASANT GAP, Pa., May 16, 2018 – When Reedsville resident Wilson Goss suffered a stroke, he lost some function in his left leg, leaving him to wonder if he would ever walk again.  However, Goss, age 78, did not lose hope. He began his stroke rehabilitation at HealthSouth Nittany Valley Rehabilitation Hospital in Pleasant Gap. 

The inpatient rehabilitation hospital provides physical, occupational and speech therapy to patients who have suffered debilitating conditions such as stroke, the fifth-leading cause of death in the United States.

“When Mr. Goss arrived here for stroke rehabilitation, he had lost a lot of function in his left leg,” said Physical Therapist Assistant Mackenzie Adams. “Working as a team, our goal was to help him walk again.” 

It wasn’t long before Goss’s therapists realized his determination was going to be a major contributor to his recovery.  

“I was reluctant to come to rehab; I didn’t know if they could help me,” said Goss. “But I decided that if I did, I was going to do what they told me to do, and make the best of it.”

Goss made great strides in his stroke rehabilitation. His physical therapy included the AutoAmbulator, a therapeutic device that holds a patient upright while robotic braces move the patient’s legs across a treadmill. Within a few days, Goss was showing signs of improvement.

“Everyone at HealthSouth Nittany Valley treated me like gold,” Goss said. “I followed their instructions and I improved more than I thought I could.  By the time I was discharged, I was walking.”

Prior to his stroke, Goss worked as a truck driver for Allensville Planing Mill, and he’s looking forward to returning to his job. Goss has been married to his wife, Nancy, for 57 years. They are active at their church, St. John Lutheran Church in Siglerville, participating in activities and fundraisers to support organizations like the Salvation Army and the Ronald McDonald House.

Goss has also participated in a group that provides support for stroke survivors and their families. The group eats together while enjoying an educational program. The group’s goal is to support one another no matter where they are in their recovery and improve the quality of life for stroke survivors and their families.

“There are people in the group whose stroke occurred 10 years ago, and there are those who are in the initial stages of recovery,” said Cathy Steffen, LPN, rehabilitation liaison.

Goss recently visited a friend who was a patient at HealthSouth Nittany Valley, offering him support and encouragement. 

“There’s a lot that I couldn’t do right after my stroke,” Goss said. “But now I’m walking around without a walker and I’m ready to be active again. The staff, the therapy and the technology got me back on my feet. There is definitely hope for recovery after a stroke.”   

The Lewistown Stroke Group meets at Hoss’s Steak & Sea House on the second Monday of the month (quarterly) at 5 p.m.  The next meeting is July 9 at 5 p.m. The Stroke Group in Centre County meets at HealthSouth Nittany Valley. The next meeting is May 29 at 4 p.m. with guest speaker Robert Sainburg, Ph.D., OTR. He will present, “Motor Performance Following Stroke Depends on Brain Hemisphere.” The Stroke Group meetings are at no cost and open to the public. 

About HealthSouth Nittany Valley Rehabilitation Hospital
HealthSouth Nittany Valley Rehabilitation Hospital is a 73-bed inpatient rehabilitation hospital that offers comprehensive inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation services. Serving patients throughout the Centre region and five surrounding counties, the hospital is located at 550 W. College Ave. in Pleasant Gap, and on the Web at www.nittanyvalleyrehab.com. An outpatient clinic is located in Pleasant Gap.

About Encompass Health
As a national leader in post-acute care, Encompass Health (NYSE: EHC) offers both facility-based and home-based patient care through its network of inpatient rehabilitation hospitals, home health agencies and hospice agencies. With a national footprint that spans 127 hospitals and 237 home health & hospice locations in 36 states and Puerto Rico, the Company is committed to delivering high-quality, cost-effective care across the post-acute continuum. Driven by a set of shared values, Encompass Health is the result of the union between HealthSouth Corporation and Encompass Home Health & Hospice, and is ranked as one of Fortune’s 100 Best Companies to Work For, as well as Modern Healthcare’s Best Places to Work. For more information, visit encompasshealth.com, or follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

Group photo caption:
The HealthSouth Nittany Valley therapists were inspired by the recovery of stroke survivor Wilson Goss, 78, of Reedsville. Goss lost the use of his left leg, but regained his ability to walk through a high dose of therapy, technology and his own determination. Pictured, front:  Wilson Goss, stroke survivor and Cathleen Manning, DPT. Back row: Luke Martin, SLP/L; Jim Moslak, DPT; Mackenzie Adams, PTA; and Mitchell Straub, DPT, therapy manager.

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