The Natalie Barnhard Center for Spinal Cord Injury Rehabilitation and Recovery opened in Buffalo this fall, welcoming clients who would otherwise have to travel hundreds of miles to find a similar place to work out and, perhaps just as important, bond with other spinal cord injured clients.
And soon, University at Buffalo physical and occupational therapy students will begin to prepare for their clinical experiences, where they’ll learn to work with the most state-of-the-art equipment available thanks to a partnership forged between Barnhard’s Motion Project Foundation and the Department of Rehabilitation Science in UB’s School of Public Health and Health Professions.
Barnhard endured an arduous journey after suffering a spinal cord injury in 2004 that left her paralyzed. She was 24 and working as a new physical therapist when a 600-pound piece of exercise equipment toppled onto her, shattering a disc in her neck and severely damaging another below it. Specialists at Erie County Medical Center treated Barnhard, who then moved to Atlanta in 2005 to undergo extensive treatment at a hospital that specializes in medical treatment, research and rehabilitation for people with spinal cord injuries and neuromuscular conditions.
Learn more about the Motion Project Foundation
From right, Sue Ann Sisto, chair of the UB Department of Rehabilitation Sciences, and fourth-year occupational therapy students Brooke Blazer and Sydney Szwarcberg watch as Motion Project trainer Kyle Johnson works with client Ashely Kern. Photo: Douglas Levere.