Before I begin this post, I just want to let everyone know that I took the story from SpinalCordRecovery.org, the website of the International Center for Spinal Cord Injury at the Kennedy Krieger Institute. All credit is due to them and their writers, and if you’d like to learn more and visit their general site, click here.
The International Center for Spinal Cord Injury offers more than just the hope of recovery from what was once thought to be an irreversible and life altering injury. Through the use of Activity Based Restorative Therapies (RT) great promise has been shown helping adults and children with chronic spinal cord injuries recover sensation, movement, independence, and overall improved quality of life even many months or years after an injury.
Despite her disability, Santa Marie Wallace finished her BA in May 2011 and is currently pursuing her MA in Disability Policy while working part-time. Although her C3-C5 incomplete spinal cord injury and limitations of movement caused her body to be stiff as a board at first, her muscles are now being re-educated through activity-based restorative therapy at the International Center for Spinal Cord Injury. The innovative, aggressive nature of treatment has augmented her flexibility and movement. Santa continues to make strides in strength and recovery of function. She is able to stand from her wheelchair and walk limited distances using a rolling walker, something doctors told her she would never do.
Patrick Rummerfield lives a life that can only be deemed miraculous. A 1974 car accident left Pat with little hope of survival. Today, this triathlete, racecar driver and motivational speaker spends each day ensuring that he makes the most of his body’s renewed power. As the world’s first fully functional spinal cord injury quadraplegic, Pat is living proof that with the right combination of quality medical care, intensive physical therapy and personal will, recovery from devastating injuries is possible.
Lily was just three when her neck was broken in an automobile accident. A moment of folding metal, and her new life appeared etched in stone before she had ever entered kindergarten. After months of intensive care, her parents were told she would never be able to use or feel her legs again.
Matt climbed on his four-wheeler to make the short trip to visit a friend. He never made it. He can’t remember much about the ride, but he knows he went over a 20-foot embankment. When he came to after the crash, he couldn’t move.
MacKenzie was just ten years old and looking forward to a day of fun at Port Discovery in Baltimore with her parents and two friends on April 2, 2005. That rainy day took a different turn when a pick-up truck traveling on the opposite side of the highway lost control and veered into their lane, hitting their car, and injuring all five occupants.
“I remember everything,” Brooks said the other day. “I remember making the tackle. I remember laying there and not being able to feel anything. I remember talking to the trainer, who was asking me different questions. I remember getting into an ambulance. They cut all my equipment off, then they waited for the MedEvac [medical helicopter] to come. They transferred me to the MedEvac. I remember the ride down to Shock Trauma, but once I landed at Shock Trauma, I don’t remember anything.”
In the months since the 15-year-old struck her head on an ocean sandbar in Australia, sustaining a C6-level spinal cord injury, virtually every expert said she’s already gotten her miracle. She was alive, she could wiggle her toes, she was regaing sensation in her limbs. But she would probably need to use a wheelchair for the rest of her life.