24-year-old brain aneurysm patient taking back life with music

Ellie Blair uses music therapy (KXAN Photo)
Ellie Blair uses music therapy (KXAN Photo)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Music has more power than you may think — the power to heal. At St. David’s Rehabilitation Hospital, music and rhythm is helping patients recover after suffering life-threatening brain injuries.

“Sent a normal, everyday text to my boyfriend at 12:51 and they called EMS at 12:57. So it only took 6 minutes for me to have the aneurysm,” said Ellie Blair, who’s just 24-years-old.

The brain aneurysm left the right side of Blair’s body paralyzed.

“Kind of the question that was there was — why? Why did this happen to me? And then I went through anger, at everybody.”

Blair realized being angry would only slow her down. And music was the perfect prescription to get her moving again.

“She’s doing phenomenal,” said Meredith Leva, OTR, who’s certified in Neurological Music Therapy (NMT). “Neurological music therapy uses rhythm and music to help change the brain pattern. Research-based techniques to help with walking again, speaking again and even your cognition.”

The therapy helps patients with any neurological disease, especially stroke patients, brain injury patients, people with Parkinson’s, MS, Alzheimer’s and dementia.

Leva says it’s a team approach, and this type of therapy is one of many used to help patients recover.

While Blair had a musical background, she never knew the impact it could have on her recovery.

“It’s always been a part of my life and now it’s basically helping save my life,” said Blaire.

With help from therapists, Blair regained full function in her arm and leg, faster than her doctors ever expected.

While she still has a long road ahead, music is helping her move forward.

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