ABLE, the Activity-Based Locomotor Exercise program, is an innovative approach for people living with paralysis or neurological conditions. ABLE delivers standardized activity-based exercises based on current scientific and clinical evidence.
The ABLE program delivers a complete fitness and wellness program that incorporates
Functional Electrical Stimulation (FES), the
Giger MD therapy device and guided fitness activities to challenge muscles and movement below the level of injury.
The ABLE program is customized to individual goals following a thorough functional and physiological assessment.
Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute takes a holistic mind-body approach to rehabilitation and lifelong wellness. Most ABLE Program participants experience improvements in health, fitness, strength and quality of life. To learn more, contact us at 612-775-2200 or
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Advanced Technologies to Treat Spinal Cord Injury (podcast)
Right away, I was telling myself, OK, I know I'm paralyzed. You always think, you know, you hear about things like this happening to other people, but the odds are so slim. It seems so remote. But when it hits you, it's pretty real. After I woke up from being out for a week, the doctors told me what had happened and the statistics of what your life's probably going to be like from now on. And it just absolutely crushed me. Here he had just broken his neck. He was paralyzed. But he had pneumonia and he was going through bronchoscopes and that was so scary. A doctor came and tested all of my movements and told me that I had maybe a 30% chance of ever walking again. Before the accident I was your normal 17-year-old, always hanging out with my friends. Athletics were the main part of my life. All I worked for was football. I loved football and I played football through high school. Very energetic. Just go, go, go, on the go constantly. You know, he wasn't afraid to try anything. I just loved the whole aspect of working out, being active and healthy. And right after the accident it's like, OK, now all that's been taken away from me and what am I going to do with myself? He was in critical care in Eau Claire for one month and then he went to Courage County Allina for two months. And I couldn't imagine my life without walking again. I just felt like, I'm definitely going to walk again. When he moved his foot, his dad and I bawled. We bawled. It was like, he moved his foot. I started with inpatient and outpatient at Courage Kenny. I did therapy there with doing mat work and more work to get me used to like living in the world with what I had. I did lot of walking there. That was really cool to see because it almost like if you hide the straps and everything, it just looks like how he was before he got hurt and that's really cool. And then I did the pool at Heritage Park. The ground is a treadmill so then you're walking and in the water and you have a lot less body weight so it's easier to walk. Here at Courage Kenny, I'm in the cable program. Gosh, sorry about that right foot. When I would do workouts in football, I was totally able to do everything, and I knew how to do everything. And this is different because your body can't do the same movements it used to. I still think of myself as an athlete with everything I do here. Alex is really fun because he's come a long way and we've kind of been able to set different goals along the way where when he first came, he was in a power wheelchair. And now he is walking in with Lofstrand crutches and also seeing him start this semester with an online class and then helping him work towards the goal of being able to independently go to college like every 19 or 20-year-old kid should be able to do, that's the stuff that's really rewarding. They really work you hard and they know they know exactly what they're doing and know how to push you and to push you at to a certain level. They do a great job. I just love these guys. They're a lot of fun. One of the first things he could do was, didn't take him long, to be able to text and connect on his phone. So he's a kid. He's a kid. Obviously I'm so proud of him. It's like, all the time, people are always talking to me about him and how amazing it is. But it's like, to me, he still my twin brother. I just signed up for the cycling program here at Courage Kenny, that way I'll have a bike on my own at my house for the whole summer and I'll be able to exercise all I want, which I really want to get back to. Can never thank you enough for everything that you've done for my son, first and foremost my son, but for our family. I would think it's just as important mentally, because it totally changes your frame of mind and it really does make people happier. If I couldn't come here, I would be sitting at home. But when you're here, I mean, you just have the greatest outlook and you're just happy to be doing something. It definitely kind of feels like a rebirth, after my injury, it feels like I was kind of born again. I guess I'm a whole new person in many different ways. I can still be who I want to be. I don't have to be with the injury made me.
Scholarships based on financial need are often available for the ABLE Program. Please contact us for more information. If you wish to donate to the ABLE Scholarship fund, you may do so using our
Donation page and selecting "Scholarship-ABLE Program" from the drop down designation menu.
Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute’s ABLE program is one of only six community fitness and wellness facilities nationwide that are part of the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation
NeuroRecovery Network (NRN). And it’s the only NRN facility in Minnesota.
NRN is leading research on spinal cord injury. Dr. Susan Harkema, head of NRN also is doing epidural stimulation research.
ABLE staff training is through national leaders in spinal cord injury. Continued learning is through the annual national summit.
Aquatics, fitness and wellness
Looking for an internship? The ABLE Program offers
academic internships for Exercise Science and Therapeutic Recreation majors.
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