When Thomas Din, 61, an experienced skier and ski instructor at White Tail ski resort, was unable to walk up the stairs or grasp items, he knew it was time to call his doctor and explain his symptoms.

“They immediately told me to call 9-1-1,” the Rockville resident says.

It turned out Din, who has prediabetes and high blood pressure, was experiencing a stroke. He was taken by ambulance to Adventist HealthCare Shady Grove Medical Center, an accredited Primary Stroke Center and recipient of the American Heart Association’s (AHA) Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award, which recognizes compliance with AHA’s stroke measures for at least 24 consecutive months. Once Din arrived at Adventist HealthCare Shady Grove Medical Center, the comprehensive stroke team immediately began treatment.

“The quicker a stroke can be treated, the better chance there is for a meaningful, functional recovery,” says Jesse Irwin, MD, emergency physician at Adventist HealthCare Shady Grove Medical Center, who treated Din upon his arrival to the hospital. “Therefore, it is important to recognize the signs of a stroke and take quick action, which includes calling 9-1-1.”

A Team Approach

Stroke Patient Tom Din

Thomas Din returned to the slopes as a skier and a ski instructor less than six months after his stroke.

Dr. Irwin is part of Adventist HealthCare Shady Grove Medical Center’s multidisciplinary stroke team, which includes a stroke care coordinator, emergency department physicians, neurologists, hospitalists, cardiologists, intensivists, radiologists, physiatrists, case managers, dietitians, nurses and therapists.

“Mr. Din had a small stroke, but it was in a critical place,” says Perry Smith, MD, neurologist at Adventist HealthCare Shady Grove Medical Center. “As a result, he had left-sided weakness, including problems with his tongue and problems walking.”

Din underwent physical therapy at the hospital and worked with speech therapists to regain tongue strength.

“Dr. Smith was so encouraging and told me he thought I’d be back to skiing,” Din says.

After several days at Adventist HealthCare Shady Grove Medical Center, Din moved to Adventist Rehabilitation Hospital of Maryland to continue his recovery. There, he regained his ability to perform tasks such as cooking and bathing.

Din worked to regain his balance on the multiple application suspension system, an overheadsuspended rail system, which is part of Adventist Rehabilitation Hospital of Maryland’s new Neuro- Rehabilitation and Balance Center.

In addition, he was able to practice skiing in a safe, controlled environment using the Wii system at Adventist Rehabilitation Hospital of Maryland.

“I really enjoyed it,” Din says. “Every chance I got to get onto the Wii to ski, I did it.”

On Jan. 3, 2013, less than six months after his stroke, Din was back in action, returning to the slopes as a skier. He resumed his instructing the next day.

“After eight runs on the bunny slope, I went to the intermediate slope,” Din says. “On those first few days, I ventured up into the expert slopes.”