Swimming Again After Injury

After my spinal cord injury in 2011, I thought I would never be able to swim again. My left arm was lacerated so badly that it was almost amputated. Swimming has always been such a joy to me because my kids love it so much. They both learned to swim at a very early age and I have always enjoyed being in the water with them.

At Shepherd, I told the therapist one of my goals was to learn to swim again. At first, this task seemed impossible. They used a Hoyer® lift to get me in the therapy pool. The first thing I had to do was get my balance back. I sat on a stool in the pool with a floatation device around my neck. I could not even hold myself up. We worked on balance, then eventually holding my breath, and trying to swim.

My left arm to this day will not reach completely overhead because of the rod in my shoulder. I swim mainly using my right arm, and my left just does what it can. When we arrived home, my family knew how important getting back in the water would be for me. My dad took my Hoyer® lift and mounted it as a pool lift. Sometimes I even get thrown in! Today, I am able to enjoy the water with my kids. I’m so thankful I didn’t give up on this goal!

Some helpful water tips are:

  • Wear water shoes
  • Always wear water proof sunscreen
  • Make sure as soon as you get out you dry off thoroughly
  • When getting in and out of the water always have a supervisor
  • Keep a flotation device close while swimming

Maria

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