Doctors, engineers help quadriplegics spend a day on the lake

Posted at 5:47 PM, Jul 19, 2013
and last updated 2013-07-19 21:31:05-04

EAST CANYON RESERVOIR, Utah - Doctors and engineers from the University of Utah gave quadriplegic patients an opportunity to enjoy a day out on the water on Friday.

Quadriplegic patients like Rick Bradshaw, who hasn't had the use of his legs in more than two decades, got a chance to steer a sailboat or paddle a kayak at East Canyon Reservoir.

"When they told me about kayaking I didn't think it would be something for me," Bradshaw said. "I love the water I always have. I actually broke my neck in a water sport. So getting close to it again is like coming back and visiting an old friend."

The Therapeutic Recreation and Independent Lifestyles program pushes people with spinal cord injuries to try something new and see what they can accomplish outside a traditional rehabilitation facility.

"This is where the rehab really happens, I say that to a lot of people. It's only when you get some perspective and you leave the hospital and you see some things you really can do, and you don't worry about the clinical setting anymore," said Dr. Jeff Rosenbluth, a spinal cord rehabilitation specialist.

Rosenbluth worked with the engineering department at the University of Utah to customize the equipment to keep patients safe while letting them take the controls.