Balloon animals therapy for Bippy the Clown

Good News Notes:

Sometimes, clowning around can be a good thing. Just ask Ron Pritchard.

Pritchard, 73, wound up in the Spinal Cord Injury Center at the Milwaukee VA Medical Center in early June after a moped accident. The crash left him with a spinal cord injury and nerve damage.

‘When I got here, I walked like Frankenstein’s monster – clop, clop, clop, clop,’ he said, adding that his right hand was curled and stiff.

As part of Pritchard’s rehabilitation, physical therapist Annette Grefig recommended that Pritchard make balloon animals.

While that may sound like an unconventional therapy, it’s actually perfect for Pritchard.

That’s because for more than 40 years, Pritchard has moonlighted in the Milwaukee area as Bippy the Clown.

‘I love kids, and I love to entertain,’ Pritchard said of why he became a clown. ‘It was something I started doing in 1973-74 to make a little extra money.’

Now, after two months in the SCI Center, Pritchard is improving his dexterity by creating dogs, birds and all manner of animals out of balloons.

‘We knew that Ron was Bippy the Clown, and we knew he could make balloon animals and thought it would be a really good intervention that was fun and about him,’ Grefig said.”

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