In the News - Details

Life and Recovery After a Spinal Cord Injury
2016-12-21 • Project Walk San Diego
Introducing Conor: In July of 2014 Conor’s life changed as he dove into the ocean and suffered a C5 spinal cord injury due to impact into a sandbar. Prior to his injury he was and is still very involved in the arts. He previously studied menswear fashion design at Parson’s School of Design in New York city. When he wasn’t drawing, and sewing you could find him hiking, practicing yoga, hanging out with friends and traveling.
After His Accident: Since his accident Conor has learned just how strong he is. He has been through a lot of challenges which has taught him to never give and continue to fight for what he wants. What he wants is to fully recover from his accident. This strength and perseverance is something he didn’t knew he had until this injury and that is why he wouldn’t trade this experience for anything. It is because of the grit, courage, and strength that he has developed the life skills that he can apply to any situation in the future. He feels that after recovering from a spinal cord injury that any challenge he faces in life will not be an issue at all.
What does Project Walk mean to you? Project Walk is important to Conor not just because it is an amazing establishment for recovery but also because of its attitude.
“There are so many places that are dedicated to “recovery” of spinal cord injuries but they don’t encourage and give hope to the patients. Many people who are trying to survive and recover from an injury like this think that it’s too big for them to handle, that it’s impossible because doctors and spinal cord injury specialists tell them so, or that it’s just a very slow process which seems discouraging. What Project Walk brings to the table is that through hard work, motivation, and perseverance there is hope for recovery regardless of injury, and I think that is very important. There are many people out there in this field that don’t like to say anything positive because they are afraid of spreading “false hope.” I don’t believe in a thing called false hope, because hope is hope. Hope is equivalent to having faith that recovery is possible. There is no such thing as false hope, however there is such thing as false promises. Another reason why Project Walk is important to me is because it has an extensive and dynamic group of board members who are all the best neurosurgeons and doctors who are heavily involved in biomedical research. All of the findings they discover in their research, they collaborate with Project Walk and the training specialists incorporate those discoveries into our therapies for optimum recovery, which is unparalleled to any other recovery facility.”
Current Hobbies: Conor continues to enjoy drawing and design but has also developed a new creative outlet with writing. His injury has made it easier to express himself through writing than drawing. Through the many journeys of his recovery he has experienced many crazy and unusual situations which he tries to find humor in. It is these experiences that lead to his creative and comedic writing style. It is his goal to one day publish his stories so that it can help people view their challenges in a humorous and more upbeat perspective.
His Goals: Upon starting with Project Walk Conor’s short term goals included the improvement of his upper body strength and triceps function. He achieved both goals after one year of hard work with his Project Walk Specialists (view his previous milestone video CLICK HERE). His long-term goals include independence and making a full recovery.
Achievement and Motivation: Conor’s biggest motivation for recovery is to achieve an overall better quality of life. Prior to his injury he was an avid international traveler and there are so many more places that he wants to explore. He plans to be on his own two feet when he arrives at those destinations. Perhaps his biggest achievement to date is the ability to complete an independent transfer from his wheelchair onto a mat table. When he started at Project Walk a year ago, he had little tricep function and now he can easily extend his arms against gravity.

Statements from his Specialists:

Conor consistently goes above and beyond to reach his goals towards recovery. He does not give up until he accomplishes his current goal, and by his very next session he has already figured out how to work towards his next one. Every single training session Conor comes to, he is pumped and ready to go, always with the best attitude. He knows how to celebrate even the tiniest of accomplishments, knowing that every little improvement is a step in the right direction. Conor understands what dedication and pushing his limits means and always wants to do more. He truly brings a light to our facility, consistently encourages those around him, and does everything he can to radiate his positive attitude and hope.
Conor has made tremendous improvements in his upper body function and strength, as well as his core stability. In the past few months he has gained the ability to transfer independently, sit up straight on his own, and maintain his balance while performing various exercises. Conor has also gained greater neural connections in his legs and is improving every day in his ability to perform femur rotations, abduction, adduction, and hip extension. Conor is truly an example of how hard work and extreme dedication pay off. Way to go Conor!
- Shannon Orr       

Conor does everything in his power to reach his goals of a full recovery. He comes into Project Walk for 3 hour session multiple times a week and always gives everything he has to every training session. He is also part of a bowel and bladder trial with UCLA, and does acupuncture on top of everything else. Conor’s drive and positive attitude not only influences his own workouts but affects everyone he comes in contact with while at Project Walk. He is always encouraging others to give 100% to anything they do and always letting others know how great they are doing in their recovery.
Conor continues to regain more movement and strength in both his upper and lower extremities. He now has more connection to his legs and can voluntarily initiate internal rotation of his left femur! He has regained a large amount of trunk strength and stability, and is able to sit up much taller than ever before. Conor’s tricep strength and definition has also improved greatly over the last year. With this increase in tricep and trunk strength he is now able to transfer completely unassisted. Great job Connor, keep up all the positivity and hard work!
- Andon Gamache       

San Diego, CA