While fishing with friends on the Magnetawan River in August of 1993, Jennifer’s 16 ft aluminum boat was struck by a 30 ft steel fishing boat. The boat, hitting Jennifer in the upper back caused a flexion/extension break in her neck (C3, C4, C5, T1) and back (L2, L3) rendering her paralyzed from the neck down. Jennifer was flown Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto where she was told that she would never walk again.
During Jennifer’s 5-week stay at Sunnybrook she regained movement in her left arm with minimal movement in her legs.
Jennifer’s treatment was then taken over by Lyndhurst hospital. Through hard work, in 5 months, she had improved substantially and although she was able to walk her gait was laborious, heavy with spasms and she fatigued quickly.
Unaware of how train a neurologically impaired body, Jennifer continued exercising on her own, building muscle at an alarming rate not realizing that she was in fact building neurological tone, resulting in stiff, spastic muscles that made walking a chore.
Sore joints, fatigue, and an uncontrolled gait left Jennifer looking for clinics that specialized in the treatment of SCI. People who would know how to build healthy muscle and manage neurological tone and spasticity. Then she found Aim2Walk.
Jennifer had heard about the Lokomat and when she came in, said that she “couldn’t wait to try it out to feel what it is like to walk normally again”. Jennifer’s first session on the Lokomat produced amazingly immediate results. Her gait had improved her stance was much narrower and she had walked further then she had in 15 years, over a kilometer!
Through continued use of the Lokomat, along with a personalized treatment protocol including neuromuscular re-patterning, Functional Electrical Stimulation, Acupuncture and Massage, Jennifer has been able to regain and maintain improvements to her gait. Her endurance has improved and her joints and tendons suffer much less because of the protocol developed for her by the therapists at Aim2Walk.
When asked how she felt about her improvements and continued therapy at Aim2Walk, Jennifer said:
“I am able to continue to strengthen my muscles in a healthy way which I feel will minimize long term stress on my body. I trip less. I find it easier to get in and out of the car. I can walk to the park with my kids. To me, these improvements are huge! A miraculous recovery having me running through a field of daisies was not was I was looking for. I simply wanted life to be easier, to keep up with my kids a little better and to trust that my body would not fail me in the years to come.
I have to wonder if I had been given the opportunity to work with this team immediately after my injury, could I have avoided many of the long term effects caused by my SCI? Could I have re-routed nerves who’s memories were fresh 17 years ago? Everyone suffering a SCI should have the access to this type of expertise and equipment as soon as their bodies are stable from injury or surgery.
A great big thank to the team at Aim2Walk!”