Medical Minute 4-8: Wheelchair Workouts

By: Casey Taylor Email
By: Casey Taylor Email

Last year, Frank Alioto got married in Mexico. Hours later, the happiest day turned tragic.

"I dove into a pool to be with my wife, and I hit the bottom or the side we're not sure which, and I broke my neck," said CG Frank Alioto.

Frank is finding help and hope in this gym designed specifically for him.

"When I was first injured, I was told that I would have very limited arm movement and no hand movement, no leg movement," said Alioto.

"Next Step" is Janne Kouri's creation. The former college athlete and rock climber was paralyzed four years ago while swimming in the ocean. He knew exercise would keep him healthy and possibly help him move again, but there was nowhere to go.

"There's thousands of gyms for able-bodied people, so why shouldn't there be at least one facility in every community that people with spinal cord injuries have access to?" he said.

It's one of only eight places in the country that offer loco-motor training. People are held up by harnesses, while therapists move their feet and legs. Doctors say the repetitive motion could retrain the brain and spinal cord to communicate again. Studies show loco-motor training has helped some patients walk on their own again.

"The capability to step remains in the spinal cord after a severe injury," said Reggie Edgerton, Ph.D., Neurobiologist and Exercise Physiologist.

Two years of loco-motor training helped Janne take his first steps.

"There's no magic pill today, and people should not just sit down and wait for that," said Kouri.

A man whose determination is only matched by the size of his heart.

For more information: Ivanhoe Broadcast News2745 W. Fairbanks Ave.Winter Park, FL 32789http://www.ivanhoe.comJulie Marks, Supervising Producer of Prescription: Healthjmarks@ivanhoe.comDirect Line: (407) 691-1500Viewer Line: (407) 740-0789 ext. 579

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