Spinal Cord Injury Recovery Spotlight
February 2013 Spotlight: Daniel Gomez de la Vega
1. Where were you employed before your spinal cord injury (SCI)? What were your interests?
I have my own company. It’s an aluminum factory where we build all different kinds of frames for construction companies. I love to go to the movies with my friends, I enjoy photography, and before my injury I played a lot of sports. My favorite sports are soccer, sailing, motocross and surfing.
2. How were you injured? What was your initial prognosis?
My accident took place on February 26, 2011. I was preparing for an off-road mountain race, but that day I was training on a motocross track. While I was approaching a double jump, I hesitated just for one second and I didn’t make the jump all the way. I crashed my front wheel, flipped and landed on my back.
My initial prognosis was thoracic 8 (T8) complete and the doctors told me that I wouldn’t be able to move my legs or walk again. I didn’t believe them and I still don’t, but I know this is a long and slow process.
3. How did you hear about Project Walk?
I found out about Project Walk while I was in the hospital searching on the internet about spinal cord injuries. I started watching videos on YouTube and later learned more information on Project Walk’s website.
4. What makes Project Walk so special and how has Project Walk changed your life?
I think the most important thing about Project Walk is the environment, trainers, and clients. The clients at Project Walk have the best attitude when it comes to training and they are open to share their own experiences. It’s like a big family.
Project Walk has changed my life in a way that I know I can still fight to improve my quality of life, with continued hope and hard work!
5. What are your goals?
My ultimate goal will always be to walk again, but I’m taking it step by step. One of my first goals was to cycle on the spin bike on my own, which I recently achieved! Also, I would like to improve my balance and strengthen my core.
Outside of Project Walk my goals are to complete an Ironman and to compete in the Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro in 2016. And, I want to continue to surf as much as I can!
My plans in the future are to get married and start a family. I hope to be the best husband and father that I can be for them. Throughout the course of this journey, I also hope to help and inspire others all around the world!
6. What advice would you give to prospective clients?
Never stop dreaming and never quit!
If you want things to happen, go and achieve it on your own because no one is going to do it for you!
Daniel’s progress since coming to Project Walk on March 5, 2012.
Daniel’s Team of Specialists: Andon Gamache and Loren Bloom.
Daniel came to Project Walk from his hometown of Mexico City with a T8 incomplete spinal cord injury. He had very little function or control of his lower extremities and was suffering from constant back pain. The extreme tone in his legs and discomfort in his back were very discouraging for Daniel, but he did not let that hinder his potential. Daniel’s constant focus and dedication has driven his progress and recovery.
Currently here on his second trip to Project Walk, Daniel has regained a lot of strength in his lower abdominals, which has helped to alleviate his pain and retain a positive outlook on life. Since his return to Project Walk, Daniel’s biggest improvement has been his increase in voluntary movement. He is now able to initiate hip flexion and the strength in his quadriceps has greatly increased. Daniel is now able to stand with only minimal assistance. He is able to adjust his pelvic tilt and stand upright with only his knees blocked, which he was unable to do just a few months ago.
Daniel is an extremely hard working individual. He consistently comes in before his training sessions to use the standing frame, Motomed, and do core work. Outside of Project Walk, Daniel’s work ethic is inspirational. He uses his arm cycle bike multiple times a week, goes to the gym, and swims as much as he can; all in an effort to train for an upcoming Ironman. Also, on weekends he loves to surf, occasionally going on his own. Daniel’s dedication to his recovery and positive attitude not only benefit himself, but also everyone else at Project Walk.