Category Archives: SCI Superstars

SCI Superstar: Nurse Linda Schultz (from the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation)

When you have a spinal cord injury, we all dream of having that perfect nurse that is highly capable, caring, and knowledgeable of all things spinal cord. “Nurse Linda” aka Linda M. Schultz from the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation fits this bill and then some. Having worked as a nurse in the spinal cord injury field for over 30 years, she loves rehabilitation medicine and has dedicated her career to it.

Unknown to many is the fact that Nurse Linda is also a Doctor. Her brilliant mind and passion for spinal cord injury led her to work with the Reeve Foundation for several years, including working with Christopher Reeve directly before his passing. A source of amazing advice for people with spinal cord injuries, read on to learn more about the highly informative Nurse Linda.

Why She’s Fearless?

Nurse Linda’s foray into spinal cord injury medicine began early in her schooling. “When I was in nursing school I told a professor how much I enjoyed working with individuals with long term disability. She said to try rehab. I did and was lucky to find my niche right out of school. My first position was at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago,” she says. Linda has been working in this field ever since and she’s proud to be a physical rehabilitation nurse.

I could have specialized in other areas of healthcare but rehab nurses get to know people and become involved in their progression. I like being a part of the entire process. Other health professionals do their thing. I do mine and am happy doing it.” Nurse Linda received her PhD from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

Spinal cord injuries also interested her because of their exactness, which makes it one of the easiest neurological disorders to research. “Spinal cord injury trauma is like a natural research project. Generally, you know what happened, the type of injury, the exact day and time of the injury and the expected outcome. This information cannot be determined in other diseases.”

It was over 20 years ago when Nurse Linda became involved with the Reeve Foundation, which is where she currently works. She suggested to Christopher Reeve himself that he begin doing active physical exercises to his body below his level of injury, which is now known as activity based therapy. “Years ago, an idea about providing activity to the area of the body below the level of injury was proposed. Christopher Reeve was approached. He agreed to participate in this change of treatment philosophy,” she says. “Ah, the power of nurses! The result of adding activity to his routine was a change in ASIA score from A to C. What a significant difference.”

What’s Next?

As Nurse Linda for the Reeve Foundation, she also gets to travel across the country and the world helping people with spinal cord injuries. Each month, she also hosts a webinar called “Ask A Nurse” that’s on the last Wednesday every month at 3:00pm EST. A variety of topics are discussed pertaining to spinal cord injuries.

As for healthy living tips that all people with spinal cord injuries should take heed to, Nurse Linda recommends the importance of sleep and trying to devise a schedule so that you do not get interrupted sleep from catheterizing and turning. She also recommends socializing on a regular basis. “Research lets us know that people need to interact with people for improved mental health.” She’s also a huge proponent of drinking water and deep breathing. “That is a lot of health improvement at no cost.”

If you’d like to meet Nurse Linda, you can find her at the Abilities Expo doling out advice on health issues related to SCI. She will be at the next one in Houston, Texas August 4th, 2018.

“Ask Nurse Linda” official webinar page

– Nurse Linda recommends everyone w/ a SCI keep a free SCI info wallet card on their person. Download yours here

Watch her Videos!

Ask Nurse Linda: Nutrition

Nurse Linda: SCI & Aging

Nurse Linda: SCI & Swelling

SCI Superstar: Ben Clark

When it comes to adaptive fitness online, you may have heard of Ben Clark. He has one of the most active channels on Youtube catering to wheelchair-users who want to get fit. But his story isn’t just about his fitness channel. A lover, a survivor and yes, living life as a quadriplegic, this 28 year old from Poole, England is committed to living his life on his own terms in spite of his paralyzing injury. Read on to see exactly what we mean.

Why He’s Fearless?

A swimming accident in 2010 changed Ben’s life forever after he dove into a wave and broke his neck. He is now an incomplete C5-6 quadriplegic but fortunately has decent triceps function. What makes Ben really impressive is that he didn’t need much downtime after his injury. “I’ve always had a positive outlook on life and don’t let things get the better of me. I just saw my injury as a new experience.”

He has lived true to this belief system in the 8 years since his injury, which you can see on his social media channels. On his Instagram account he shares some incredible morsels of wisdom. Here is something he posted while traveling to Australia recently: “Difficult roads often lead to beautiful destinations.” “I choose the hard path and yes it means that life is even harder still but it’s worth it to take me to beautiful places like the one in the photo.” “Adjust your mindset and create the life you want to live.”

One of the biggest influences on Ben’s life is fitness. Before his injury, he was on his way to becoming an Olympic swimmer. After his injury he attempted to be a Paralympic swimmer, but since it wasn’t the same, he decided to move on to something outside of the pool and found a new home – in the gym. It’s been the gym and working out in different ways that has motivated him over the years.

He began a video channel called Adapt To Perform a little over 1 year ago, and the videos he’s been making help people of all abilities get in shape. With 50 videos and counting, he shares every aspect of getting in shape as a wheelchair-user both physically and mentally. One of his most popular videos is his 20 minute HIIT workout showing wheelchair-users how to get a cardio workout while staying in their chair.

He’s also made several videos showing how he uses various pieces of exercise equipment using his Active Hands, which are gloves that help him hold heavy equipment without having good hand strength. He loves to do CrossFit-style ropes, various weight machines and he has even made videos on adaptive yoga with him transferring onto a mat. Ben is a workout/exercise machine and the internet loves him for it.

What’s Next?

But his life isn’t just about working out. An avid traveler, Ben visited Australia with his girlfriend Alice earlier this year and last year they traveled to Belgium. He also loves music festivals, doing SCI peer support whenever he can and what’s really cool is his commitment to also making SCI awareness videos.

One is videos is an interview with a friend who is a physical therapist who was injured while skiing, and he shares her story of survival. He’s also made several videos called “Life with Spinal Cord Injury/Two Quadriplegics Talk” where he and a friend talk candidly about life with paralysis. He also shares why his hands are the way they are, as well as helpful information like the benefits of CBD Oil.

We are excited to follow Ben as he continues to share his ever growing wealth of SCI exercise knowledge + more online with the world. The internet has needed someone of his caliber for us SCI folks for a long time.

– Follow his Youtube channel, Adapt To Perform

Adapt To Perform on Instagram

Watch his Videos!


Two Exercises For Better Wheelchair Pushing! | ADAPT TO PERFORM

Life with spinal cord injury part 1 (2 quadriplegics talk)