Mark's Story

Patient continues to exceed goals years after injury

It’s been 15 years since an auto accident left Mark Appleton paralyzed because of a broken neck and crushed spinal cord, but even to this day, Mark credits his positive attitude and ability to DMC Rehabilitation Institute of Michigan (RIM).

“After my accident, I had five surgeries on my left arm and one on my spine and neck.  I was in bad shape. I couldn’t even sit up on my own, let alone get dressed or eat.  My doctors at DMC Detroit Receiving Hospital recommended RIM… and now, I kind of see my therapists and medical team as friends for life,” said Mark.

During inpatient and outpatient therapy, therapists taught him how to sit, transfer and do those things we take for granted like showering and making dinner. Within just a few months, they were able to get him back on the road driving again.

As years and technology advanced, Mark was interested in seeing if there were any new therapies to help him get even stronger.  He reached out to RIM's Center for Spinal Cord Injury Recovery.

“I really was interested in working on my core and abs.  But my therapists have incorporated so many new techniques; it’s a whole new game.  I’m crawling, I’m playing wheelchair basketball and working with them, I have gotten so strong, that I’m now the second paraplegic in the country to complete a 12-hour military workout challenge. They’ve really helped take my strength and ability to a whole new level.”

Mark continues to rehab at RIM and says by next year he will be a certified personal trainer.  He hopes he can empower people to overcome their challenges just like his friends at RIM have done for him.