When Chris Cochrane returned to Florida from his Air Force deployment, he had a heart valve infection. The infection caused him to have a stroke. His family heard that Craig was the best hospital for brain injury rehabilitation, so with the help of his Wounded Warrior advocate, they made arrangements for him to be transferred to Colorado. When they arrived at Craig, Cochrane could not walk, could not move his right arm and could only say two or three words. He stayed at Craig from mid-August until the end of November 2013. During his time at Craig, Cochrane and his wife Ashley celebrated their third anniversary.
Using funds provided by the Craig Hospital Foundation, his therapy team arranged for them to have dinner at a local Italian restaurant and go out for ice cream. The team also had flowers sent to Ashley from Chris, and helped him fill out an anniversary card during one of his speech sessions. “It was so sweet and such a wonderful surprise,” Ashley Cochrane says. “It was so great to be able to go out and enjoy our anniversary and feel normal for a little while in the middle of such a challenging time.”
After leaving Craig, Chris Cochrane spent four weeks at an intensive speech therapy program at the University of Michigan and has begun continuing therapies back in Florida. He is now walking with the help of a cane and is speaking almost full time in complete sentences. He has seen some increased movement in his fingers and right arm. The couple is hopeful that over time and with continuing therapy, he may be able to regain more function.
He also has returned to work with the Air Force on a reduced schedule. “Craig was incredible,” says Ashley Cochrane. “The therapists really worked hard to get Chris walking and talking again and to make progress.”