Wheelchair Workouts

Every year, 11,000 people hear “you may never walk again,” and the majority of them are in the prime of their lives. One young paraplegic who's defying the odds is helping others do the same — not through a new drug or a new surgery — but through exercise. “Next Step” is Janne Kouri's creation. The former college athlete and rock climber was paralyzed four years ago while swimming in the ocean. He knew exercise would keep him healthy — possibly help him move again — but there was nowhere to go. Next step is one of only eight places in the country that offer loco-motor training. People are held up by harnesses, while therapists move their feet and legs. Doctors say the repetitive motion could retrain the brain and spinal cord to communicate again. Studies show loco-motor training has helped some patients walk on their own again. Grants, donations and funding from the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation help support the gym and allow Janne to offer affordable memberships around 50-dollars a month. Janne is currently fundraising to open facilities across the country.

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