I’ve had the pleasure of making friends with one amazing guy. He’s talented, good-looking and an actor; he also has Spastic Dipledga – Cerebral Palsy.
No two types of Cerebral Palsy are the same and despite being able to walk independently his staggered walk and the stress on his joints/muscles were getting too much for his body to handle.
After 12 years of therapy and no improvement, Gregg’s doctor said that one day he would probably need a wheelchair.
While acting in another theater production, Tamar Rogoff a choreographer saw Gregg’s acting and immediately wanted to work with him on her new production called “Diagnosis of a Faun.” While working on this project Gregg’s body began to change, and it started evolving into an improved gait, balance and the most amazing thing happened his spasticity seemed to be vanishing. Spasticity is the single reason why people with Cerebral Palsy cannot move their bodies like everyone else.
For most people if you wanted to move a leg the muscle would receive one message (multiple messages that turn into one single message by the time it gets to your leg) . For those with Cerebral Palsy, you get a ton of messages all at once and your leg has no idea which one is the right message so it tenses up, and if you’re lucky at some point the message does come but often it’s a delayed reaction, and in some cases it never truly gets there.
I have been fascinated by Gregg since the first time I read about his story and saw his videos online of his before and after.
At age 2, I was diagnosed with the same Cerebral Palsy as Gregg. However, I never could walk unassisted for any length of time, but I managed to get around with crutches and braces and surgeries that were supposed to reduce spasticity.
I contacted Gregg and even though he’s busy with his acting, he wrote me back and answered my questions and is willing to help me to see if I can get better like he did. Only problem is I have used a wheelchair for the last 20 years to maximize my mobility and help control the chronic pain that people with Cerebral Palsy often have as they age.
Gregg mentioned that he ate well and worked for hours on end with Tamar, she knew the human body and the way it was supposed to work. She knew nothing about Cerebral palsy and never studied about it because she wanted to see what she could do without any pre-judgment of what someone with CP could do. She pushed Gregg to his limits, and he continued the grueling sessions.
Gregg no longer walks the way he used to and for me watching is videos I would never know he had CP, and I can spot one a mile wide.
Long gone is the staggered walk, the lurch walk and the fear that any moment he could end up on the floor was gone. No one would ever make fun of him again nor would anyone think he had anything wrong at all. Gregg worked hard for over eight months to achieve what he has gained.
His love of theater changed his life in ways no one could have imagined, and now he’s working hard to change the perception of Cerebral Palsy. Along the way, he told his doctors what changes were happening and they were surprised as they have always assumed that once you have CP, there’s nothing you can do to change it in any dramatic fashion; you just have to accept your limitation’s and do the best you can but Gregg has changed doctor’s attitudes for the rest of us. He’s given us real hope and there’s no surgery required, but the work is hard and daunting.
I recently asked Gregg if he still walks as good as he did when he was working out from morning until night, and he said no but he’s never lost his gait improvement, he had gotten because he does try to keep active by working out when he can but no one has time to work out the way he did when he was getting ready for his performance.
I asked him about balance and how he changed that. I had thought as many others did that you can’t fix balance issues with someone who has Cerebral palsy. Apparently, you can because Gregg doesn’t lurch any longer, and he maintains his balance.
The mind learned a different way to “try” and maintain balance in a body that was totally off balance. Once he broke the pattern, he could see his balance, posture, gait starting to change. I don’t think he could have done that if the spasticity was still affecting his balance, but I can’t be sure.
I’ve read that Gregg had said “I felt trapped in my body, like there was a walking person inside trying to get out”. I find that fascinating as I have always felt much the same way.
I have tried to do this method before Gregg explained it and after he explained it and I have yet to be able to do it. “tension-releasing shaking technique.” . Gregg & Tamar believe that this technique reversed his spasticity. To totally be relaxed and to be able to move your muscles in a smooth motion seems like a dream, but it’s reality for Gregg. He knows how it feels both ways and that in its self is a miracle.
Gregg has proven that Neuroplasticity works as a treatment for anyone living with Cerebral Palsy to gain more function and have a better quality of life.
“Scientists attribute this reconnection between brain and body to neuro plasticity, an emerging field of research studying how the brain can develop, or redevelop, pathways of muscle control.
They admit that this wasn’t a consideration until Gregg came along.
I personally would like to thank Gregg for his courage and determination. Honestly, if it wasn’t for Gregg, we wouldn’t have this new exciting information about Cerebral Palsy.
You can find more about Gregg at www.greggmozgala.com
Tara Richardson is the Author of Able’s World.
Available in print at Amazon
Ever since Able could pick up a crayon, he loved art but after a tragic bike accident which left him paralyzed from the chest down his dreams to be an artist seemed hopeless. Thanks to his family and friends 10- year- old Able deals with his new life and learns unique ways to achieve his dreams.