Playtime Therapy for Children Recovering From Cancer

When the surgery has passed and chemotherapy has ended, cancer’s toll on the body remains.

Children who want to get back to handstands and Hula Hoops can find themselves weak and discouraged.

Concerns about the physical well-being of children who’ve had cancer prompted athletic trainer Travis Gallagher to encourage Nationwide Children’s Hospital to start its Play Strong program.

“These patients, they just want to get back to being a kid,” he said.

Each child comes to the year-old program with a unique set of challenges, but the most common are muscle weakness, difficulty balancing and weight gain brought on by treatments or inactivity.

The program so far has helped about a dozen kids, Gallagher said. He and his Children’s co-workers do one-on-one work but also try to work with groups of children when possible. And they encourage siblings and friends to come along and join exercise that is well-disguised as play.

As Gallagher sees it, what he’s doing has two purposes. He’s helping children rebound and setting them on the right course for a lifestyle that promotes overall well-being and has been shown to work against future cancers.

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Christine Bork
Email Christine
(800) 458-6223

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