A patient with spinal cord injury recovers with the aid of an E-Pacer

| April 2019

Previously on our blog we shared a post about the use of Therabands with the TRAM from Linda Rusiecki, a physical therapist at Blodgett Hospital in Grand Rapids. In another post, Janette Tazzia and Linda Rusiecki tell about Janette’s recovery from a stroke. Now here’s a story of an individual impacted by a spinal cord injury who made remarkable gains with use of the Rifton E-Pacer in his rehabilitation. Watch Josh Carpenter discuss his return to function.



Josh Carpenter

My name is Josh Carpenter. At the time of my accident, I was thirty-one years old. I was an electrician. I was going to be married on October 7th of this year. And I was actually just leaving my wedding venue at the time of the crash. I come around a curve going about 65 mph and the back end of my truck starts sliding past the front end and I tried to steer out of it and got it partially back. But then all of a sudden I got out of the dirt and hit pavement and my tire caught and I started rolling. I hit a tree on the last roll. My body was already outside of the truck and if I hadn’t hit that tree the next roll would have been me underneath the roof. It took them an hour and a half to get me out and they got me airlifted to the hospital in critical condition.

Linda Rusiecki, DPT, CBIS

I became Josh’s physical therapist after he had already been in acute rehab for one week. And I had some notes that were written down that they thought that Josh would have to go home at a wheelchair level. So, after being frustrated at being sent home at a wheelchair level and having to live his life this way for about six months it wasn’t really good enough for him.

So, when a different complication ended him up in the hospital he had a three day hospital stay. He was able to come to acute rehab and he finally got his chance again to use this kind of technology, to use unweighted gait, and that was the catalyst that gave him that strength and that return in his right leg back.

Josh Carpenter

After the first week the growth was astonishing. And then the next week there was still growth until in the end I was going at it almost completely unsupported. And we were covering over a mile and that was a big difference.

Linda Rusiecki

So even after all this time not walking and staying stagnant, he was able to get his therapy and meet his goals and get back to the life he actually wanted.

Josh Carpenter

My life is back to almost exactly what it was before the crash. And I’m looking to going back to work in the next two months. And it’s all because of this. I had lost so much, physically. And here I am back to where I was at the start almost. And I wouldn’t have had any of that if we hadn’t found that 180 turn-around change that I needed with the Rifton.

I am very impressed with the therapy available with that machine. It was a night and day difference with the therapy too. I made more progress in four weeks than I did in four months. I made more progress in four weeks than my doctor expected me to make in a year. Nobody expected me to be walking at this point. I walk, I drive, I shower myself, cook for myself. I have people out to my house regularly and I cook for them.

I always wanted to come back and say, “Hey, this changed my life,” and have people see it. And it’s all thanks to what I was able to get out of my time here with that machine.

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