Brachial Plexus Palsy is a condition closely related to Erb’s Palsy. The same complex of nerves are damaged and causes problems in the use of the arms. But people with determination are able to overcome many of the challenges of this disorder.
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Metro West Daily News reported on a man, Cole Thomas, who wanted to play hockey despite having four of the five brachial plexus nerves in his right arm severed. According to his mother, neck stretching during birth caused the damage.
Thanks to surgical procedures, including nerve grafts, muscle transfers, and tendon transfers, he was able to fulfill his dream. The surgeries helped him regain some mobility, but they did not restore full function.
That’s why, in order to play, he learned to become ambidextrous. Having to wear a cast on his right arm for most of his childhood forced him to use his left arm for everything. These skills helped him later as a hockey goalie for his high school hockey team.
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In fact, his damaged right arm is a help for him for blocking shots. “The right arm was my paralyzed arm and it also happens to be my blocker arm so it kind of just rests in the natural position, so it makes it a lot easier for me,” Cole said. “There isn’t anything that I can’t do with my blocker that I would need to while in net so it definitely helps a lot with the range of motion.”