Janey Carter
Walker County
Feature Story
Janey Carter was afraid she’d be late to volleyball practice. It was the start of a new season and the team had a new coach. In a hurry and driving too fast, Janey veered off the road and hit a tree.

“Thankfully, someone saw the wreck happen and called 911 immediately,” said Janey’s mother, Heather. “An ambulance and helicopter were immediately sent to her location and they airlifted her to the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB).”

Janey had dislocated her skull from her spine, requiring doctors to rush her into surgery to put a rod in her neck and a plate on the base of her skull. “The doctor was unsure how surgery would even go because they told us that people with this kind of injury usually don’t even make it to the hospital,” Heather said. “It was truly a miracle.”

Post-surgery, Janey spent six weeks at UAB Hospital before she was transferred to Children’s of Alabama. She was paralyzed from the neck down and immediately began physical therapy at Children’s. “She had been so weak for so long, but then one day, about three weeks after the shunt surgery, she smiled,” Heather said. “That’s when she finally started getting stronger and they were able to start getting her up and working with her.”

Janey is part of Children’s Robotic and Mobility Program (RAMP), which provides physical and occupational therapy services for children and adolescents with physical impairment. The program takes advantage of advanced computer-driven technology that enables patients to participate in movements and activities that they may be otherwise unable to perform. Janey’s therapy plan includes walking with the assistance of the Bioness Vector, a harness training system attached to the ceiling. The Ekso Robotic Exoskeleton helps Janey stand and walk with upright posture using electronic motors and sensors. Various biking systems help stimulate Janey’s nerves to develop her arm and leg function. Last but not least, various Tyromotion devices help Janey build strength in her hands and finger movements, and grasp and pinch.

Now back home with her family, Janey visits Children’s multiple days a week for outpatient physical therapy. While she isn’t walking independently yet, she has progressed to standing on her feet. “We’ve most definitely seen progress,” Heather said. “Her goal is to be able to feed herself by Thanksgiving, and with the equipment they are using on her, she’s already working on it and it’s a good possibility she will be able to meet that goal. Children’s has been amazing. They have gone above and beyond to get equipment for her to move forward and progress. She has received such excellent care at Children’s, and it has really helped bring her a long way.”