Dedicated to proving that life doesn’t end when a fall from a horse or a dive into a shallow pool causes paralysis, the Regional Spinal Cord Injury Center of the Delaware Valley, a joint effort of Jefferson Hospital and Magee Rehab, combines strength in clinical delivery, research and education. That’s why it’s been designated by the government as one of 16 model spinal cord injury centers nationwide. Nearly half of the 3,000-plus patients it has treated were admitted within three days of injury, and many are followed for the rest of their lives. Once patients are past the acute phase, the center provides diverse services — vocational training, legal advice, support groups, family counseling, mothering training, wheelchair sports programs in soccer, tennis and basketball — and access to a state-of-the-art technology center with innovative devices such as an eye-gaze system for communication (think The Diving Bell and the Butterfly), a chin sip-and-puff computer device, and a head-controlled computer mouse. As one of seven members of the Christopher Reed NeuroRecovery Network, it provides locomotor training, which suspends the body of a paralyzed patient in a harness over a treadmill while therapists move the legs to simulate walking, in an effort to awaken dormant nerve cells (132 South 10th Street, suite 375, 800-JEFF-NOW, spinalcordcenter.org).
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