Erica’s Corner: A Note from the Chief
My life was forever changed on October 7, 2001 I was in a car accident with my brother and sustained a cervical spinal cord injury leaving me paralyzed from the chest down. In an instant, I went from being completely independent, living on my own and working full time to a dependent young adult with almost no movement from the chest down. Devastated and depressed my family supported and encouraged me for the future. As time went on and I saw improvements in therapy I began to believe in the possibility of recovery. For the next six years I participated in a number of different recovery based programs and treatments around the world but none of them fulfilled my expectations and desire to recover.
Then ten years ago I was discharged from one of these recovery program for advocating on my own behalf and challenging the traditional paradigms held by my physical therapist at the time. After the initial shock of what had happened wore off I realized that rather than discouraging me this experience had strengthened my resolve and belief in recovery. I quickly identified the five aspects that were critical for a recovery program to truly be effective:
On July 11, 2007 Walk The Line held its first session in a small 700 sq. ft. house in Ferndale. With no Plan B we set out to prove that recovery is possible when we do the work and, most importantly, when we believe. On that first day, I remember feeling a sense of strength and determination but also fear. We were setting out to do things differently, to challenge what was thought to be possible all the while putting the individual first. In the back of my mind I feared we might be more alone in our beliefs that we thought. Instead what we found is a community of people that were looking for a place that would allow them to hope, to believe and to pursue recovery just as I was. What may have started out as a program created to further my recovery exists now as a community that welcomes new faces, new challenges and new ideas.
Today Walk The Line is known globally for our innovative protocol, commitment to our community and for the success of our clients. The greatest reward is the smile our clients leave with every day, knowing we have provided a space for them to hope and the support to achieve their goals. Thank you to each person that has come through our doors and helped to make Walk The Line the amazing place that it is. We are grateful and hopeful for an even better future!
Meet The Team
Skyler Zarndt, ATC, MS
Skyler graduated from the University of Iowa in 2008 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Athletic Training. After graduation, he spent a year working as a Strength and Conditioning Coach at Bradley University. He went on to complete a Master’s Degree in Exercise Science from the University of Iowa (again) in 2011. Skyler’s professional background has always been in the athletic arena, having also worked for the Arizona Diamondbacks baseball organization for the past 5 years. He joined the WTL team in November of 2016.
“Being a part of the WTL team has been a very unique, challenging, and rewarding experience. Every day brings something new and exciting. I enjoy being a part of something bigger than myself, where the recovery of our clients comes first. I feel truly blessed to be associated with the hard work and dedication that is brought to the table every single day by our clients
Matthew Cox PT, DPT
Matt completed his final clinical rotation as a student at Walk The Line prior to graduating from the University of Dayton with a Doctor of Physical Therapy degree in May 2017.
“My path to working at Walk the Line has been one with quite a few turns and challenges but I think each experience has given me something to bring to the clinic. I am always trying to learn in some capacity whether that be through articles, books, or in the clinic. Through my short time here I have learned so much from the people that come here each week. Working with the staff and clients here has shown me that we each have our own journey and that with focused and consistent work and help we can overcome our biggest challenges and goals. I am very grateful to be in the presence of and work with so many dedicated and strong people and look forward to seeing what the next day holds for each one of us.”
On July 4, 2015, while vacationing in North Carolina, the porch we were standing on to take a family photo collapsed, and I sustained a C7 SCI. I got to experience many modes of transportation: a helicopter ride to the hospital where they stabilized my spine, and then an air ambulance plane ride to University of Michigan Hospital for rehab. I knew a fair bit about SCI because of my profession – I am an orthotist /prosthetist at U of M, which means I make orthopedic braces and artificial limbs for patients of all ages. After covering the 6A rehab floor as an orthotist, the tables were turned and I was now the patient!
My husband Steven and I lived in that hospital for 2.5 months. After discharge, my parents would drive up from Chicago to spend the weekdays with me, then drive home on the weekends. My mother in law was badly injured in the porch collapse, and once she could travel, my in laws made many trips from Virginia. We have family and friends spread across the US, and they all came to visit and play games to coax my hands to cooperate.
Learning to drive was a big part of my recovery. The first lesson, I rumbled down the road at 10 miles per hour, muttering over and over “push to brake, push to brake” so that I wouldn’t get the hand controls confused. The process of driving lessons, modifying a van, and taking the road test at the Secretary of State took 10 months, and now driving with hand controls is second nature.
My work family continues to a big part in my recovery. When I was an inpatient, I would stop by the O&P office to hang out with my colleagues. Five months post-injury I slowly started back to work doing computer based projects. As time went on, I began seeing a few prosthetic patients with an assistant doing the hands on work. I really enjoy what I do, and it is fun to design a prosthesis, problem solve issues, and form that relationship with the patient. I am lucky to work in a clinic that welcomed me back and figured out a way to make it happen.
With a spinal cord injury, you figure out ways to do things. I’ve been going to the pool with my friend Bethany once a week for the past 2 years. She is a swim coach, but neither of us had any idea what we were doing when I first got in the water! We started in the zero depth kiddie pool and experimented with different flotations. These days I swim in the lap pool.
I started Therapy at Walk the Line nearly a year ago. From my first visit, I was impressed with the teamwork and comradery of the clinic. Everyone I’ve met with a spinal cord injury has been so helpful sharing experiences, and I’ve gotten valuable resources and advice from new friends. I hope to be that supportive to others as well.
As part of Walk The Line’s Community Events program and in conjunction with our mission to support and foster social recovery as well as physical recovery we have introduced Exploration Packages. These packages consist of gift cards for local entertainment venues and food in various geographical locations and raffled off throughout the year. We are excited and proud to see our clients flourishing in the community! Below is a listing of Exploration Packages already won by our clients, look out for our next Exploration Package drawing to be held soon!
|Greenfield Village Ford Garage Restaurant & Bar||Detroit Zoo Vinsetta Garage Restaurant & Bar||Lucky Strike Bowling Buddy's Pizza||Dave & Busters||Go Comedy! One Eyed Betty's Restaurant & Bar|
In the News
2nd Annual Grill & Games
On Saturday, May 20th, Walk The Line’s community events group in conjunction with Don’t Just Sit There Foundation hosted the 2nd Annual Grill & Games at Catalpa Oaks Park in Berkley. This year the event focused on a team-based scavenger hunt, with clues that led four teams around the park grounds along with a barbeque lunch. Congratulations go to the Purple Team led by trainer Jennifer Miller for completing the scavenger hunt in the shortest time and taking the top prize! Stay tuned for our next event!
10th Anniversary Party
This past July Walk The Line to SCI Recovery celebrated its tenth anniversary and annual party held on Saturday, July 19th at the Italian-American Club in Livonia. We were thrilled to celebrate this major milestone alongside clients, employees, and their families and friends while enjoying dancing, face painting, a photo booth, a magician, as well as buffet lunch and birthday cake.
Walk The Line 4th Annual Field Day
On Saturday, August 19th, Walk The Line’s community events group in conjunction with Don’t Just Sit There Foundation hosted the 4th Annual Field Day on the campus of Walk The Line at the Vanguard Center. Participants enjoyed a beautiful sunny day filled with events including: Canvas Painting, Hand Cycles, Egg Relay Race, Obstacle Course, Water Balloon Explosion, Plinko, and a Lip Synch Battle, with food provided by Detroit BBQ Company. A special thank you to this year’s sponsors who made the event a tremendous success: Quality Home Medical Equipment, Dignitas, Health Partners, Alrig USA, S&L Transportation, Entech Medical Staffing, CAPS Remodeling, Therapeutic Rehab (TRU Design), Your Wellness Massage, Wolverine Orthotics, and Kathy Grace OT.
37th Annual BIAMI Conference
The 2017 37th Annual BIAMI Conference was held at the Lansing Center September 14th and 15th. Another record year for attendance and the exhibit floor was extremely active with many exhibitors supporting the conference with close to 2,000 attendees!. Montel Williams opened the conference as the keynote speaker and motivated the crowd! Walk The Line continues to support this informative and meaningful event each year.
Walk The Line is excited to announce the upcoming release of a webinar done in collaboration with ReWalk Robotics on Recovery and Robotics. More details to come!
The 2017 CPAN Gala is moving to the east side of the state and will be held on October 28, 2017 at the Michigan Science Center 5020 John R St. Detroit, Michigan 48202. Strolling Detroit-themed Dinner, Science Center Scavenger Hunt, Commemorative Photos, Cocktail Attire and Complimentary Valet Parking. For more information please contact CPAN at 517-882-1096. Register online at protectnofault.org , early Registration Discount Available.
MPVA Salute to Veterans: Friday November 10th 6:00 to 9:00pm at the Suburban Collection Showplace 46100 Grand River Ave. Novi, MI 48375. Keynote Speaker Clark Shuler, MPVA Director of the Board, Air National Guard Veteran. For more information and tickets contact 248-476-9000 ext. 06 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks for Reading!
Over the past ten years, Walk The Line has become recognized as a world-leading program for recovery therapies. Our belief in the human spirit and perseverance fuel our desire and drive to be the best recovery facility in the world.