Medical Minute: Cycling for Spinal Cord Injuries

Maggie Brown and her mom know all about life's ups and downs. When she was 11, Maggie broke her neck after diving in a shallow pool. Doctors said she would never walk again.

Maggie said, "It's like, this is how it is? Whatever. That's not going to stop me from doing anything!"

She proved that at her high school graduation.

Jean Brown, Maggie's mom, said, "She walked across the stage without a walker or anything and didn't tell anybody she was gonna do it!"

Maggie credits much of her success to the physical therapy she receives at Shriners Hospital. Bikes are one of the newest tools to help spinal cord patients. Maggie's is hooked up to a video game.

Maggie said, "It's a good workout. It's fun."

Jackie Durbin trades her wheelchair for this cycle. She can't move her legs, but an electrical stimulator makes her muscles contract and causes the pedals to move!

"I can see my muscles moving, but I don't feel it, so I think it's cool."

Fourteen-year-old Meagan is using the same bike Christopher Reeve did after a car accident left her paralyzed. She's already gained back some feeling.

Meagan said, "Now it's just like inside. It feels like I actually have my legs."

Doctors say even though the girls aren't really moving their legs, they're still getting a cardiovascular workout.

Lawrence Vogel, MD Pediatrician, explained, "It's critical that we provide them with a way to remain fit beginning at a young age."

Therapies at Shriners are free, but Maggie says the progress she's made has been priceless!

For more information, contact:

Elise Wachspress
Shriners Hospital
Chicago, IL
(773) 385-5420


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