Spinal Cord Injury Recovery Spotlight
August 2012 Spotlight: Sergei Kravsovsky
1. Where were you employed before your spinal cord injury? What were your interests?
Prior to my spinal cord injury (SCI) I was working for a Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) company on the East Coast. I returned to work a month after I was discharged from the hospital. I had a wide variety of interests which included both indoor and outdoor activities.
2. How were you injured? What was your initial prognosis?
I was injured in a car accident. My prognosis was wheelchair for life.
3. How did you hear about Project Walk?
My wife started researching alternatives to traditional medicine which would help me recover from my injury while I was still in the hospital. She came across Project Walk while searching the web.
4. What makes Project Walk so special and how has Project Walk changed your life?
Project Walk provides an excellent psychological and therapeutic environment necessary for recovery.
5. What are your goals?
Some of my physical activity goals include hiking the Appalachian Trail, climbing Mount Elbrus and kayaking across Lake Baikal.
6. What advice would you give to prospective clients?
Follow the steps to recovery outlined by Project Walk. It’s all there.
7. Sergei’s progress since coming to Project Walk.
Sergei’s Team of Specialists: David Hofmaier, Ryan Regensberg, and Jason Root.
Lead SCI Specialist – David Hofmaier: Sergei came to Project Walk a couple of years ago and we began to talk about training during his exercise sessions. He came here to intensify his training and I gave him some advice. He worked hard and enjoyed his time at the old facility so much that he returned this summer to our new Project Walk home.
Sergei is one of the first clients at the facility at 8 A.M. and he trains for two hours per day, five days per week. During June, Sergei pedaled the spin bike on his own for the first time for seven minutes. In July, he pedaled the spin bike continuously for forty minutes. The neuromuscular connections that Sergei is regaining are lasting. He is getting more function and sensation in his legs and he says that sometimes he feels “connected down to his feet.” When this occurs Sergei is on fire during his workouts.
One of the training exercises that he enjoys is what he refers to as “the old ball and chain.” This is when Sergei does his crawling on all fours with ten pound weights attached to his ankles with bungee cords. We have noticed that this particular exercise helps him connect his upper and lower body together while using his core to control his hips. The work output is intense because the weights are getting so heavy that the bungees begin stretching like rubber bands. He follows this up with some more leg work and the connection is strong for him. Then he is off to grab some food with his wife and the two of them come back in the afternoon to work out a couple more hours on their own.
Sergei is very quiet, but he always has a devilish grin on his face. However, don’t let his humble demeanor fool you. If you talk to him and ask him about his therapy in Russia or what he has learned on his journey he is very open. He is always willing to pass on information and share his knowledge.
SCI Specialist – Ryan Regensburg: Sergei’s dedication, focus and positive mentality are key factors to helping his progress. He has overcome some obstacles that could have been very defeating. He was able to keep his focus through the ‘bump in the road’ and continued to train through it. By doing so, Sergei has achieved the ability to crawl and he continues to strengthen his core for seated balance.
SCI Specialist – Jason Root: Sergei’s work ethic and focus are solid and unmatched. In addition to his scheduled workouts, he comes in for a second workout session that he does on his own daily. He also utilizes Neuro-Acupuncture and Rolfing on a regular basis. The results of this are evident in his progress through load bearing in his trunk and legs. He has made fantastic gains in neuromuscular strength and control in hip flexion and extension.