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Rehabilitation team helps iconic drummer Elbert “Woody” Woodson return to his passion after limb loss.

Rehabilitation team helps
iconic drummer Elbert “Woody” Woodson return to his passion after limb loss.

Losing a leg to diabetes did not cause 74-year-old Elbert “Woody” Woodson to lose his passion for drumming. After playing with some of the biggest names in music during the 1970s, including the Temptations, Marvin Gaye and Stevie Wonder, severe health problems caused Woodson to become homebound in his Northeast D.C. home. That is, until a local news story about the famed drummer caught the attention of Judy Anderson, a clinical nurse assistant at Adventist HealthCare’s Physical Health & Rehabilitation.

Making Things Happen

Anderson contacted Terrance P. Sheehan, MD, medical director of Adventist Rehabilitation, to help Woodson obtain a prosthetic leg and supportive care to help him return to his life passion.

Dr. Sheehan and his team quickly arranged to bring Woodson to Adventist HealthCare Physical Health & Rehabilitation in Rockville, where he received a new prosthetic leg and therapy vital to help him walk and drum again.

Woodson’s doctor and therapists were amazed at his focus, hard work and remarkable progress. “He said he was ready to work as hard as he could to get back on his feet,” says Woodson’s physical therapist, Farhad Ostovari. Woodson quickly learned to stand and transfer weight with minimal assistance.

Passion Restored

Woodson returned home after 19 days at Adventist Rehabilitation’s Rockville facility.

He continues to work on rebuilding his strength to walk with the new prosthetic leg and attends outpatient therapy on a monthly basis at Adventist Rehabilitation. Woodson’s care team remains focused on helping him achieve his dream.

“I have the expectation and vision that Woody will play the drums again and he’ll do it very well, if not better than he did in the past,” Dr. Sheehan says.

Adds Woodson: “I don’t think I’ve wanted anything more. I never had a dream in my life that this would have happened to me. Every moment I’m thankful.” Woodson has formed a special friendship with the Adventist Rehabilitation team, particularly Anderson, who recognizes the importance of playing drums for Woodson.

“The drums are what make him thrive,” she says.