Spinal Cord Injury Recovery Spotlight
October 2012 Spotlight: Ryan Porteous
1. Where were you employed before your spinal cord injury? What were your interests?
Before I got injured I had just graduated from high school and was starting college at University of California Santa Barbara. I loved sports and being outdoors. I played football in high school as well as competed in sailing, swimming, and surfing. I was always having fun with my friends outdoors riding or skating around, mountain biking, surfing, snowboarding, or just running on the beach with my dog.
2. How were you injured? What was your initial prognosis?
On October 8, 2011, I broke my neck at C6 diving off a boat dock. I’m not sure what exactly I hit and was lucky not to have drowned. I had a little feeling in my legs and some movement in my arms.
3. How did you hear about Project Walk?
I heard about Project Walk while in inpatient rehab at Sharp Hospital in San Diego.
4. What makes Project Walk so special and how has Project Walk changed your life?
Project Walk is special because it works with people who need specific training that is hard to find or not even offered in some places. Insurance companies often suck and are quick to stop helping. Project Walk offers a lot of the equipment and trainers that are specifically for those with spinal cord injuries and facilitating recovery.
5. What are your goals?
Physically, I work to eventually make a full recovery. However, my true goal is to be happy and enjoy life, which is more important than anything else, no matter where I end up.
6. What advice would you give to prospective clients?
The vibe at PW is very positive and friendly. Also you can take what you learn from PW and apply it to a strength training program at home if it is safe. In addition you can utilize the equipment available at PW when not with a trainer; there are some restrictions though.
7. Ryan’s progress since coming to Project Walk.
Ryan’s Team of Specialists: Ryan Carpenter and Steve Waite.
Still in his first year post injury, Ryan Porteous has seen tremendous progress in his quest to walk again. Using the same drive and athletic mindset that made him an accomplished football player and surfer, Ryan has pushed his body every day. Ryan presented good activity when he arrived at Project Walk, still in his doctor prescribed cervical collar. Now, he has volitional control of nearly every muscle group and continues to improve his strength. Through a rigorous program consisting of two days of three hours at PW, as well as visits to other facilities, Ryan was recently able to reach the major milestone of taking steps (using a walker) while unassisted by a trainer. As he moves forward his focus will be on correcting his pelvic tilt, improving his balance, and fine tuning his movement patterns.
Though very independent in his daily life, Ryan has an excellent support system. He can usually be found working out for hours with his parents after his sessions. While many people require an additional push to aid their motivation, our job as Ryan’s trainers is usually to reign in his passion for rehabilitation. Still, most weeks, Ryan will be found exercising at least 6 days per week. Ryan’s friendly but quiet demeanor belies the intensity of his focus and impressively dry sense of humor. He has been a perfect client and there may be no limits to his recovery.