Spinal Cord Injury Stories

Jennifer's Story

Dec 5, 2023

“RIM’s robots and technology help patient walk again”

For pharmacist Jennifer Tryon, mountain biking is a great way to enjoy the fresh air. On a 2022 summer vacation, Jennifer and her family put on their helmets and protective gear and hit the trails.

“As the trail took me onto a bridge, my bike went off the edge sending me into the creek below. I couldn’t move and knew it was bad.”

At a Virginia hospital, she was diagnosed with an incomplete spinal cord injury and had surgery to fuse vertebrae in her neck. She also had multiple fractures on her right side. Knowing the next step was therapy, her friends in the medical field recommended DMC Rehabilitation Institute of Michigan (RIM). One week later she was transported back to Detroit, only able to move her head.

“My goal was to get back to my original life. I wanted to be a mom. I wanted to work. I wanted to be active. I didn’t know if any of these goals were realistic.”

Jennifer put her full trust in her physical and occupational therapists. They pushed her, she pushed herself and after five weeks of inpatient rehab, the results were night and day.

“I went home with a rolling walker, a cane and additional leg devices. A month earlier, I couldn’t move. I am so impressed with the skillset of my therapists and how they adapted with me as I progressed.”

She was also fascinated by all the technology. A robotic suit, called an exoskeleton, taught her how to walk again and similar technology continues to assist her in getting stronger. She feels the technology investments made by RIM allow therapists to go further with their patients.

Jennifer continues her outpatient therapy at RIM. She uses assistive devices on her legs but is independent, back to being an active mom and working. She credits her tremendous progress to her RIM team, family and technology.