Smart Woman: New Program Empowers Patients with Spinal Cord Injuries

Published 08/01 2014 02:39PM

Updated 08/01 2014 06:52PM

Jackie Colby is thrilled to be back on a surfboard.

Jackie Colby, a Spinal Cord injury patient, says, "It was absolutely amazing it was the best natural high I've ever had in my life."

The 29 year old former athlete and surfer was paralyzed last year after falling of the roof of her home.

She's taking part in a program that brings activities and sports back into the lives of people with spinal cord injuries. Participants surf, kayak, and dance.

Mary Squillace, an Assistant Clinical Professor of Stony Brook University, says, "It just takes them to a place that they never thought they could be at one point before."

Mary Squillace believes the Empower Spinal Cord Injury Program at Stony Brook University gives patients both a mental and physical boosts.

Squillace says, "It's definitely great for their endurance, great for their trunk control, muscle strength."

Joe Preti was apprehensive about getting in the surf.
Preti says, "Once I was out there the water was very peaceful, it was beautiful...We've done kayaking. We've done hand cycling. We've done surfing. The whole combination of experiences that we've had have really made me more alive."

This 63 year old says the two week program has shown him just how much is possible.

The program is now in its second year and accepts paralyzed patients from all over the country.

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