Paralyzed Patients Surf - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe Sparks News, Weather, Video

Paralyzed Patients Surf

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Jackie Colby is thrilled to be back on a surfboard. "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 off 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, cycle and dance. "It just takes them to a place that they never thought they could be at one point before," says Mary Squillace of Stony Brook University.

She says the Empower Spinal Cord Injury Program at Stony Brook University gives patients both a mental and physical boost. "It's definitely great for their endurance, great for their trunk control, muscle strength."

Joe Preti was apprehensive about getting in the surf. "Once I was out there the water was very peaceful, it was beautiful."

The 63-year-old says the two week program has shown him just how much is possible. "We've done kayaking, we've done hand cycling, we've done surfing, the whole combination of the experiences that we've had have just really made me more alive."

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


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