Our program’s impact is best measured through the words of our athletes:
My name is Heather Sobers and I am a Bridging Bionics athlete. I was diagnosed in May of 2016 with encephalopathy and I have been at BBF for a year and a half! Initially, I could not take a shower, the pain in my neck and head was excruciating. I could not close my eyes to keep the soap out as my balance and perception were impaired. I was not able to stand next to a two-story window and look out, walk across a bridge, or spend time downtown as it was too much information for my brain and vision. Now at BBF, I walk in the Keeogo Robot outside on the walking path and my next goal is to walk on the rocky singletrack. Ever since joining BBF, I can now take a shower, ride my tricycle, walk along any outdoor path and carry groceries and laundry up a flight of stairs! I am stronger both emotionally and physically as I am more confident and comfortable going out and exploring places! My most recent success was riding my tricycle to the Concert in the Park! When I was diagnosed I thought this was going to be my new normal but the team at BBF has pushed me and I have learned to push myself to continue making strides. I will tell anyone who will listen as BBF has changed my life.
My name is Danielle and I have been a Bridging Bionics athlete since the start! I was diagnosed with cerebral palsy at birth and it has given me challenges with walking and talking because of increased tone. At Bridging Bionics, technologies like the Galileo platform and Vibe help to reduce my tone making walking easier. In therapy, we have been working really hard on my balance and having controlled movements while relaxing my upper body. Every time I leave therapy, I feel happier and I can feel my body relax. I really like robots because it keeps me in line when we walk outside and when we use the Lokomat, it assists me to where I can walk with great form for a long time! Bridging Bionics has come to be a one-of-a-kind program.
I’ve been participating in Bridging Bionics programming since its inception and have seen constant improvement in many facets of my physical and mental fitness. With access to high tech equipment and a team of professionals, I’m so fortunate to have Bridging Bionics.
Living with a spinal cord injury necessitates unrelenting diligence toward your health to fight against atrophy, infection, joint contractures, and more. Luckily, those of us working with Bridging Bionics get help in that fight and are always working to regain maximum physical performance and rehabilitation.
“This place is wonderful”. Sam has participated in many different therapies because of his lack of mobility and Bridging Bionics is by far the most innovative and positive of our experiences. Most therapy and therapists that we have encountered go through the motions without the hope that the person will actually improve and it is just a job. Bridging Bionics offers hope to people with serious disabilities and with it such a positive attitude. Is is their wish that the person succeed. It is indeed “wonderful”!
My name is Heidi and I joined Bridging Bionics after I was diagnosed with Guillain-Barre Syndrome, where I had issues with weakness, numbness, and severe fatigue. When I first started therapy, I did not have much sensation below the waist, my gait was extremely awkward, and I had drop foot in both lower extremities. I was struggling with intense muscle spasms too! I initially did therapy at the hospital but after I met my first goal I was discharged. The hospital said I was healthy enough to go home but there were issues with my insurance. The therapists at BBF push me to meet my goals and make new ones without struggling with the insurance company for more therapy sessions. They are committed to supporting me until I am absolutely back to my 100%. My recent goals revolve around increasing my endurance in effort to decrease my recovery time. Sometimes it takes a week to recover from an intense activity, like hiking, so we are working towards building strength and endurance, so it does not take me as long to recover! Furthermore, BBF has allowed me to continue building on my goals through their functional training program. Training and therapy still allow me to focus on my recovery while increasing my strength in training. Now I can pursue sports and outdoor activities on my own with the confidence to push myself. Before I started training, I was afraid to get back on my mountain bike, but with functional movements and seeing my strength gains, I have gotten back on the mountain bike!
Yami has been with Bridging bionics for 3.5 years, and at seven years of age, that is half her life! When Yami began, she was much smaller than she is now and dependent on others for movement and many different activities in her daily life. Since starting BBF, her balance has improved tremendously. Yami uses the Upsee device at therapy to assist her in taking steps, supporting herself, and walking in a smooth pattern. Since starting at BBF, we have gotten our own Upsee at home and have used it for years. In therapy, Yami has been working on overall strengthening in both sitting and standing positions to do activities on her own. Our next goal is for Yami to have control over her movements. It has been amazing to see Yami improve as she has grown with the program and we are excited to watch her continue to meet her goals in therapy!
My name is Anne and I have been diagnosed with MS. I have been with Bridging Bionics for so long, I cannot remember when I started but I have been an athlete of BBF since the program started. Before I joined BBF, I was very nervous walking independently and I had little endurance. Since joining BBF, I can walk steadily with confidence, and I have better balance. The therapists at Bridging Bionics have increased my understanding of how to use my muscles to work together in different activities and I know they are getting stronger! We have been using technologies like the Lokomat and the Keeogo in therapy to assist my gait mechanics. The robots aid and control my movement in a smooth pattern with support, so I do not have to worry about my knee collapsing or losing my balance. Using the robots, I can fine tune aspects of my gait so I can walk faster, smoother, and with confidence! Today, I walked in the Keeogo across the golf course and back, something that I would not have had the confidence or endurance to do without the robot and therapists encouraging me along the way. It was so refreshing and I felt like I could accomplish anything. My favorite part about Bridging Bionics is connecting with individuals who have similar struggles and diagnoses. It is reassuring to hear others discuss their struggles and triumphs through inspiring conversation each week at the clinic!
Last February, I went to Mayo Clinic where I had a Chiari decompression surgery in efforts to create more space for my brain. I did therapy at Mayo for a while until I was ready to come home. I have been with Bridging Bionics for 6 months and I love it because nothing compares to this unique type of therapy and the rare opportunity to use the technologies here. My favorite thing to do at BBF is use the Galileo Tilt Table. This piece of equipment allows me to stand upright for a long time and at the same time I can strengthen my core, legs, or even my upper body. I have also been using the NuStep each week to further increase my endurance! My current goals are walking with increased stamina and endurance, and the therapists at Bridging Bionics support me all the way through the process!
I have an incomplete spinal cord injury and a genetic condition called Neurofibromatosis type two which produces tumors along my central nervous system. My accident was eight years ago and I have been with Bridging Bionics for five years. The location of the Snowmass facility is amazing as I live right down the road. All of the therapists are wonderful as they have all taken turns treating me.
Before I joined Bridging Bionics, I saw at least 8 different physical therapists up and down the valley. They always prescribed the same exercises with little to no pain relief and I was definitely not getting better. At BBF, the therapists are all willing to try new and innovative techniques with a rare set of equipment that most facilities do not have access to. I have been with the program for three years and we are still trying different things and I am getting stronger without the associated pain. Overall, Bridging Bionics is a large part of my social life and I have built relationships with the other athletes and therapists within the program. This program drives me everyday to be the best version of myself I can!
32 years ago, I suffered a traumatic brain injury and I broke C5, C6, and C7 in my neck from a motorcycle crash. I was paralyzed on the right side of my body that created spasticity and gait issues for me years down the road. One of the main issues at my initial evaluation at Bridging Bionics was my gait. I suffer with drop foot and spasticity in my right leg. I had trouble getting my leg to swing forward without it swinging outward causing me to walk very awkwardly. Because my accident was over 30 years ago, I thought there was zero chance that therapy could improve my gait at all. But guess what, we did it!! My walking has improved remarkably along with my self-confidence increasing dramatically.
First and foremost , the therapists had expectations that I was going to succeed. They knew how hard to push me and what my body and mind was capable of, even if I didn’t know! If I wasn’t able to complete the exercise, they had so many modifications and then a week or two later, I could do the initial exercise with even more success! Overall, It is incredible to see how my success and interactions at physical therapy and training can improve other facets of my life.
I was paralyzed 22 years ago in August and ever since I started going to Bridging Bionics, I have gained back feeling and muscle control that I didn’t even know was possible. So, when my sister Emily was recently diagnosed with MS, I knew I wanted her to join BBF. If I could make gains 22 years after my accident, then I knew that my sister has even more potential for healing. I can never thank BBF enough for providing such outstanding and affordable care that has the power to transform the lives of myself and the people I love.