New tech improves physical therapy in the south Bronx

(l-r) Irene Ilagan, physical therapist; James Galberth; April Ann James, director of Rehab at Triboro Center; Rafael Crichlow; Jeanette Calara, physical therapist
Community News Group/Sarah Valenzuela

When someone suffers from a stroke, they often question why.

Why them, why now, why here?

After the initial shock and trip to the hospital, the next step is to get better.

Some of the effects of a stroke are usually muscle weakness or paralysis and slurred speech.

The way your brain computes thoughts are challenging.

So you go to physical therapy and depending on how bad your condition is, you could be looking at an estimated recovery of one year, maybe even longer.

Advances in modern medicine and technology are certainly changing the way stroke victims, and many others who require physical therapy, go through their treatments.

Centers Health Care’s Triboro Center on Teller Avenue in the south Bronx, as of 2018, joined the future of these physical therapy treatments.

Implementing a computer program called Jintronix, residents and physical therapists can more accurately track muscular imbalances and disabilities, match and correct movements, and have fun while exercising.

“You think you’re playing a game, but you’re exercising,” said Rafael Crichlow, a resident at the Triboro Center.

Seven months ago, Crichlow suffered a stroke that left him paralyzed on the right side of his body.

He started traditional physical therapy at the facility four months ago that was replaced by the Jintronix program in February.

He started the program still wheelchair bound, but only one month later he was able to walk and move around without any assistance.

“With regular exercise, you’re always thinking about something else,” continued Crichlow. “With this program you have to focus on doing the exercise on the screen.”

One of the physical therapists at the facility, Jeanette Calara, said Crichlow’s progression would have taken him almost a year to achieve using traditional treatments.

“This program puts us on par with Manhattan facilities,” said Calara who has been a physical therapist for almost 27 years. “To have something like that in the Bronx has put this facility on the upper echelon of the south Bronx facilities.”

The computer program looks like a Nintendo Wii or Xbox Kinect game.

A camera links patients to the program and tracks their movements as participants interact with objects on the screen, doing things like walking around the floor to touch lit up markers on the screen or moving their arms in the air to catch balls that approach from the screen.

“People take little things for granted, like holding a glass of water, but I can do that now,” said another patient at Triboro Center, James Galberth, who suffered from a stroke in 2013.

Galberth’s stroke left him completely paralyzed on his left side and has been in physical therapy since. Galberth also started using Jintronix.

“When you have a stroke your mind and vision are on two different levels,” continued Galberth. “This program helps with your depth perception and trains your mind to coordinate with your body.”

The facility has been on a three month trial with Jintronix, but plans to keep the program after it’s trial phase is finished, according to the director of Rehabilitation at the Triboro Center, April Ann James.

Reach Reporter Sarah Valenzuela at (718) 260-4584. E-mail her at

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