YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – May is Stroke Awareness Month and a former officer is now regaining her mobility after suffering from one. She has help from a robotic arm to thank for that.

Life changed in an instant back in 2021 for Tracy Polak, a former lieutenant with the Beaver Township Police Department. She had spent a September weekend at the farm camping and had work the next morning.

“I set my alarm for like a quarter after five and at four o’clock the dog was just jumping all over me and beating me up, trying to get me up and I couldn’t move,” she said.

Polak suffered a stroke that left her entire left side paralyzed. But now, thanks to the help from an InMotion robotic arm, Polak went from having virtually no movement in her arms and fingers to regaining almost all of it back.

She went to St. Elizabeth Youngstown Hospital as a patient in the rehabilitation unit and has been using the robotic arm to regain mobility. Occupational therapist Renee Swavel says it serves as a tool to assess her movement.

“All of those measures are things you have to be able to do to do everyday living skills. Then from those results, you develop a treatment plan in collaboration with other occupational therapy tools and treatments to improve a patient’s independence,” Swavel said.

Polak now has a lot of her movement back and although she can’t return to the police force, she has started a new journey dog training with her sister.

“Everything is done with your left hand so since the stroke was on the left side that makes it even more therapy for me,” Polak said.