What started out as a beautiful day on the slopes turned into a run that would forever change Roy Tuscany's life. "I went 130-feet on a 100-foot jump, came down from 30-feet in the air and the impact from hitting the snow fractured my T-12 vertebra." Paralyzed from the waist down, Roy made his way through Renown Rehabilitation Hospital with an ambitious goal - to ski again.

After two years of intense physical therapy - he did it! Roy says it was largely because Renown Rehab set him up for success with resources like its Transitional Living Apartment. Occupational Therapist Kristina Tufts walked Roy through some skills patients practice here; things we take for granted - like getting up from furniture. She demonstrated why patients with limited mobility should always sit by the arm of the couch. "So, you have another piece of leverage besides the cane to help push yourself up."

The goal here is to get you out of here by re-teaching patients the skills they need to live independently again. Therapists focus on activities like dressing, eating and bathing. "Those are what we start with,” explains Kristina. “But then we build up to things like cooking, cleaning, house-keeping because those are things we don't really think about when we first get hurt." Another example of something that might be challenging after an injury is getting into and out of a car which is why you will find a Tesla parked right in in the middle of the rehab gym. "A lot of times we teach a modified technique,” shares Monica Thomas who is a Physical Therapist at Renown Rehabilitation Hospital. “We have the patient walk up alongside the vehicle, turn, sit, and swing their legs in.” Patients practice negotiating stairs, too. For some people, the first step is literally taking the first step. Monica works a lot with the solo-step harness – which is attached to a track on the ceiling that doesn't let you fall.

It's because of tools like these that Roy is living an active life again and running the High Fives Foundation - a non-profit he founded eight years ago to help other athletes recover while continuing to enjoy the sports they love. He now has an office inside Renown Rehab to mentor folks after having walked in their shoes. "I'm just trying to meet with them, add some positivity to their day and let them know that the goals that they set are achievable."

You can find out more about Renown Rehabilitation Hospital at https://www.renown.org/explore/transitional-care/renown-rehabilitation-hospital/.

To learn more about the High Fives Foundation, click on https://highfivesfoundation.org/.