According to the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation, approximately 1.3 million Americans are living with spinal cord injuries. Statistics show that many of these injuries are sustained by people between the ages of 15 and 35 years old. In addition, many of them are men. These numbers along with some of the hobbies practiced in Colorado, such as skiing, likely mean that there are many people in the state suffering from spine injuries.
Damage to the spine is something that can cause severe complications. Many have become paralyzed due to these complications, finding themselves unable to walk or use their limbs any longer. Causes of spinal cord injuries include falls, diving into pools, car accidents and gunshot wounds, along with many other things. Because of the prevalence and potential severity of spinal cord injuries, many foundations and researchers have been trying to find a cure.
One individual who became paralyzed at the age of 24 has been working hard for the past decade to get to where he is now. When he first became injured, he was unable to move anything below his neck. Physicians told him to learn to accept this, but he chose not to instead. Now, he is standing for an hour and a half each day. He is also an ambassador for the Reeve Foundation.
He has sought many different therapies and has worked hard from day one to regain the ability to feel temperature in his legs, stretch his calves and move his toes. He has participated in many clinical studies and is involved in a very serious physical therapy regimen that involves five hours of work each week. He performs cardiovascular workouts while standing, lifts weights in his garage and he exposes his hands, legs and abs to electrical stimulation. According to him, his therapy feels like he is training for the Olympics.
Source: CNN, “Fighting paralysis, one milestone at a time,” Olympia Bardis, Nov. 12, 2012