Spinal Cord Injury Community

Washington D.C.-Area Gym Offers Free Treatment to Injured, Disabled

Brooke Phillips, CWCMS
Editor | Shield HealthCare
01/13/17  9:45 AM PST
Free Treatment to Injured

“Pick it up, pick it up. Faster, faster!” Robby Febo spits out the words like a drill instructor. The students in his boxing class mimic his fast-paced moves.“One, two, one, two. . . . If anyone stops, I add ten seconds!” The crowd appreciatively groans.

“Remember,” he tells them, “all movement is good movement!”

That’s especially true for this group, two dozen neurological, brain and spinal injury patients using wheelchairs, walkers and crutches. All are struggling to recover the use of limbs they lost to strokes, accidents, gunshots or disease. And Febo, 19 and a certified fitness instructor, is part of the MedStar NRH Adaptive Sports and Fitness Program, which offers 40 hours a week of fitness classes, sports conditioning, open-gym circuit training and adaptive sports, designed for those with spinal or neurological injuries. Held on the sprawling campus of the National Rehabilitation Hospital in Northwest Washington, with satellite locations in Virginia and Maryland, the extensive program features specialized equipment and certified trainers skilled in tailoring exercise for those disabled by strokes, brain tumors, multiple sclerosis or genetic disorders.

And it’s absolutely free.

Funded by a partial grant from the Bethesda-based Gordon S. and Marilyn C. Macklin Foundation and through private donations and extensive fundraising, the program seeks to provide safe, effective, adaptive fitness for those otherwise unable to stay active.

“Individuals with physical disabilities have as much, if not more, need for physical activity as those who are able-bodied,” says Joan Joyce, NRH’s director of therapeutic recreation and community outreach. “By increasing physical activity, the program seeks to build and improve strength, muscle endurance, flexibility and function, as well as improving mood and confidence.”

Designed by Devon Palermo, 36, formerly with NRH and founder of DPI Adaptive Fitness, the program features an open-gym circuit of upper- and lower-body machines, including chest press, lat pull, chest flies, shoulder press, leg extensions, leg curls, leg press and calf press — each adaptable to a participant’s needs.

Read full article here

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