On Set or at Home, This Actor Prevails After a Stroke
Former CNS patient Timothy (Tim) Omundson – a Los Angeles based actor, respected and beloved for his roles in movies and popular television shows, suffered a massive stroke in 2017, which changed his life forever. After many months of post-acute, intensive brain injury rehabilitation at CNS, Tim overcame his physical and cognitive deficits and returned to his successful acting career.
In 2017, Tim was in the men's restroom at the Tampa International Airport when he suddenly fell to the floor. "I remember trying to screw on the cap to my water bottle and being unable to use my left hand, and then my left leg went out from under me," Tim said.
Soon after, Tim was airlifted to a hospital, where he learned he had suffered a stroke.
"I never knew stroke affected young people," said Tim. "At the time, I was 48 years old and physically in the best shape of my life,” he shared, “but a stroke can happen to anyone at any age.”
[Tim in the physical therapy gym at CNS Los Angeles.]
After spending a few weeks in the hospital, Tim was admitted to the inpatient program at CNS Los Angeles. Upon arrival, he was in a wheelchair, unable to use his left arm and leg. He also suffered various cognitive impairments, such as divided attention and limited attention span.
"I remember feeling frustrated being in a wheelchair, but the CNS staff were incredible," he said. "They instilled hope, and all of my therapists were invested in my progress."
In CNS' inpatient program, Tim received a range of integrated therapies five days a week in the clinic setting. And he resided in a nearby CNS residence with 24/7 support from CNS Neuro Rehabilitation Specialist (NRS) staff.
"The staff helped us understand each of the therapies Tim was receiving," said Tim's wife, Allison. "I also received counseling at CNS, which helped me a lot because I was dealing with the shock of Tim's stroke while juggling two children who took it very hard." Allison said she brought their kids in for counseling at CNS too.
[For the first time after his stroke, Tim walked the red carpet for the television series This Is Us.]
Tim remembered when he started making considerable strides in physical and cognitive therapy. "I was becoming more independent, physically stronger, and the cognitive tasks were getting easier," he said.
Tim's biggest goal, however, was returning to work.
CNS therapists tailored his treatment to help him achieve this goal. "My cognitive therapist, Shannon Gilliam, would run lines from my scripts with me," Tim said. "When I began working again, Shannon came to Universal Studios when we were shooting, and would coach me on specific speech elements and techniques so I could learn my lines," he said.
"I learned how to use my new body and brain, realized what I couldn't do anymore, and adjusted to my new normal," he continued.
Tim successfully returned to acting with his dedication to therapy and the unconditional love and support from his family.
His advice to current and future CNS patients is to stay hopeful and know that the brain can heal.
Tim's return to acting led to his role in Psych 2: Lassie Comes Home, the highly-anticipated sequel to Psych: The Movie, premiering on Wednesday, July 15, 2020.