Sinai Health Foundation


Young, Fit and Life
After a Stroke


Kimberley Taylor is a 25-year old former varsity basketball athlete who recently graduated with an M.Sc from St.FX University. She works for Natural Resources Canada.

Dr. Kim Coros is a physical medicine and rehabilitation physician at Bridgepoint Active Healthcare. She works with Olympic, Paralympic and other high-performance athletes through the Canadian Sport Institute.

As a varsity basketball player, Kim Taylor was used to having control. Control over the ball, her body, and often the score board.

Yet in her early 20s, the mid-range shooter suddenly found herself having to re-learn the basics, after experiencing a stroke. Throughout her adolescence, Kim had suffered a series of small unexplained medical episodes, but had never sought medical treatment, as they were brief and she would be fine the minute they ended. She just assumed it was something everyone lived with. When she was finally diagnosed with epilepsy, and told they were seizures, she was surprised, but relieved. Her doctors told her about a surgery that could help prevent future seizures. She readily agreed, but during the surgery experienced complications that led to a stroke. All this as the graduate student was getting ready to start a professional career off the court.

Kim Taylor

“With a stroke, you lose the ability to do certain things, simple things such as walking or writing with a pencil,” Kim said. While she was treated for the stroke at a downtown Toronto hospital, she soon found herself needing specialized help and support as she recuperated. “Hospitals are for emergency care, and they wanted me to have more rehab care and learn how to do all the things that I needed to do again.”

As a result Kim’s doctors referred her to Bridgepoint Active Healthcare for her rehabilitation and recovery care. “I remember the occupational therapist kept quizzing me on what hospital I was at,” Kim said. “I couldn't remember the name because my brain was still recovering.”

At Bridgepoint Kim found herself surrounded by a different kind of team. Instead of power forwards and point guards, it was nurses, social workers and speech pathologists from one of the top complex care and rehabilitation hospitals in the world.

Cheering her on the entire time was Dr. Kim Coros, a physical medicine and rehabilitation physician at Bridgepoint Active Healthcare, who is no stranger to working with high-performance Olympic and Paralympic athletes.

“When I first met Kim, I think the thing that struck me about her was her positive energy,” Dr. Coros said. “You just walked into the room and despite the fact that she'd been through a recent surgery, complicated by a stroke, you would never know it to look at her.”

Kim said she knew almost instantly she was in the right place. Bridgepoint Active Healthcare is the single largest organization in Canada to focus exclusively on research, care and teaching for people with complex health conditions.

The physical setting of the building is integral to Bridgepoint’s approach to care. The building is designed with floor-to-ceiling glass in many places. The idea is that patients and staff should be able to see through the building to the outside — the community — and feel connected to the outside world.

“We’re really trying to set people up for success,” Dr. Coros says, “The elevator doors stay open longer. All of those little things that help people to compensate for areas they might be having difficulty in right now. Downstairs, there's a physical therapy pool that looks out onto the park. Upstairs, there's a patio where we have gardening programs and enjoy the views of the CN Tower and the lake. It's just a really special physical space.”

Kim was not who most people picture when they think about stroke patients she was young and fit. This physical well-being helped her speed through her recovery process. “Movement is really one of those under-appreciated treatments,” Dr. Coros said. “Exercise is as or more beneficial than some medications for a number of conditions. Cardiovascular disease, stroke, dementia, mild to moderate depression. It's been proven to help with prevention of certain cancers like colon and breast cancer.”

With the help of her new team, Kim got right to work with an intense rehab schedule, undergoing occupational therapy four days a week, along with physiotherapy, speech pathology and more. In just two weeks, she transitioned from a wheelchair, to a walker and eventually a cane.

“It's a really, truly unique hospital and rehab centre,” she said. “After I was discharged, I taught some school programs. I went to a conference. I graduated. I published a paper. And soon enough, I'll be starting my job… I think that no matter why you keep growing as a person, no matter what happens, as things get harder, you get stronger.”

While Kim has now swapped her basketball jersey for business attire, she credits Bridgepoint for getting her back in the game.