Michael Boles practices cooking with Ariel McFadden, occupational therapist assistant.

When Michael Boles had a spinal injury when he was 21, he didn’t think it would lead him to become a complete paraplegic at age 28.


Unfortunately, a methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus infection got into the spinal hardware, requiring Boles, a roofer, to have surgery.


“I was able to walk before my surgery,” Boles said. “It was really scary to wake up and not be able to move my legs. I couldn’t even move my toes.”


Following the procedure, Boles came to Life Care Center of Rhea County in Dayton, Tennessee, for rehabilitation. When he arrived on Aug. 22, 2017, he needed total assistance to take care of everyday tasks like bathing and getting dressed.


He wouldn’t stay that way.


Both teams worked with Boles, starting off by working on range-of-motion exercises and neuro-muscular reeducation. As he regained strength and function in his legs, he progressed to the AlterG® Anti-Gravity Treadmill®, which allowed him to practice walking in a reduced-gravity environment without a risk of falling. The therapists were able to increase the amount of gravity as he got stronger. He also did standing exercises.


“My therapists are great,” said Boles. “They are the best anywhere.”


Boles improved to where he only needed supervision with his walking and standing and self-care tasks. He is preparing to return home with his aunt, who has been active in his care.