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Alex Mitchell: Ready for the challenge

Alex Mitchell
Alex Mitchell is an active, energetic young athlete. He loves sports, and played baseball and football for his high school teams. On December 29, 2012, during his senior year, Alex was snowboarding with friends when he came off a jump wrong and hit his neck on the ground. "I had no feeling below my shoulders. I couldn't move anything," Alex remembers. An MRI and a three-hour surgery later confirmed Alex sustained a C-5 spinal cord injury. His doctors gave him a 30 percent chance of ever walking again.

Alex's journey has been long and hard and filled with remarkable achievement. Following intensive care, Alex came to Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute for two months of intensive inpatient therapy. He then returned home and continued outpatient therapy three times a week for about a year. While Alex was busy with his extensive therapy schedule, he enrolled in online classes so that he could keep up with his schoolwork. In the spring of 2013, he graduated with his Rice Lake High School class and his twin sister, Maddie, by his side. "Family means everything. I couldn't have done it without their support."

Alex's courage and determination have yielded impressive results: He is relearning how to walk, to control his muscles and regain independence thanks to continued therapies and the ABLE (Activity-Based Locomotor Exercise) program at Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute. ABLE is one of five programs in the country of the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation's NeuroRecovery Network. The exercise regimens in the ABLE program maximize recovery by providing input to the central nervous system and challenging muscles below the level of injury. "At ABLE, my therapists help retrain my muscle memory so I can practice walking. It's really awesome. I love it. They really know how to push me." Alex's goal is to continue to gain strength and walk independently. "There is a lot of work ahead of me and I am ready for the challenge!"