Samboy laughs again
THE GAME OF MY LIFE - Bill Velasco (The Philippine Star) - August 23, 2015 - 10:00am

Paralyzed Philippine basketball legend Samboy Lim has regained his ability to laugh again, a remarkable sign of recovery for someone who had previously been thought to be totally immobile.

This was reported to The STAR by Lim’s ex-wife and lawyer Lelen Berberabe, who has been overseeing Lim’s health care since he was struck down during an exhibition game in November.

Previously, his brain waves were so low that doctors thought he would never recover. Berberabe and their daughter, Jamie, have been visiting Lim daily to check on his progress. It is during these visits that the former started joking around with the retired PBA All-Star.

“I would test his memory by mixing up the names of friends and family members, and ask him if that was right,” a smiling Berberabe explained. “Sometimes, they sound funny, and this week, I saw his shoulders shaking. He was laughing! He’s still there.”

When Lim was initially revived by doctors, they declared that he had almost no chance for recovery. In December, the player nicknamed the Skywalker opened his eye, and started mouthing words. A few weeks later, he suffered some deterioration in his motor functions, losing the ability to voluntarily move his lips. However, this recent development has shed a hopefully light on his situation. Meanwhile, expressions of love and support for the stricken sports hero have continued to pour in, though Berberabe knows it will be a long battle.

“We’re just so thankful for everyone who has helped Sam,” Berberabe added. “So many people love him, and many don’t even want their help to be known by the public. All this support really helps make this easier.”

Lim has also been responsive to music, moving when he is played songs that are familiar to him, showing that he recognizes the sound. Music therapy has been proven to help patients suffering from neurological damage and post-traumatic stress, and has even been known to help people regain the ability to speak. In data gathered in the US, stroke victims who cannot speak find themselves able to sing familiar tunes, thus helping restore their ability to communicate.

Initially, the family found it difficult to find nurses who would care for Lim, as the demand for Filipino nurses overseas is so great, eventually, they were able to solve the problem, and Lim’s youngest brother Von now watches over him, as well. Samboy has a full hospital room set up in a condominium near Berberabe’s office which is also accessible to Jamie, who is now a freshman student-athlete at the University of the Philippines.

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