We’re happy to announce that Kevin Mullin will be an expert contributor to spinalcord.com! We are very excited to have regular access to his knowledge and passion that he brings to our community. As evidenced by everything Kevin has accomplished including assisting in both building the Center for Neuro Recovery and the United Abilities Foundation, we expect him to enrich the lives and education of everyone who visits spinalcord.com.
In October of 2003, Kevin Mullin sustained a 5th cervical burst fracture (spinal cord injury) and drowning injuries from an ocean-related accident which rendered him a quadriplegic. During that time, Kevin and his family did not accept the diagnosis from the acute medical team of him being ventilator- and pharmaceutically-dependent with a mere three-year life expectancy from all the damage of his spinal injury and drowning.
During his almost nine month-long stay at the hospital, Kevin received many secondary medical complications including pressure sores, staff, MRSA, C. difficile, etc… After finally being released from the hospital, he knew his real challenge would begin.
For approximately 10 ½ years, Kevin not only worked with, but studied various disciplines to improve his life and ability to engage in daily living skills. These disciplines included traditional physical/occupational therapy, aquatic therapy, electrical stimulation, biofeedback, robotic and manual gait training, exercise physiology, diet, and nutrition.
He was fortunate enough (and continues to) work with some of the top doctors, professors, researchers at major universities, scientists at laboratories, equipment manufacturers, modality companies, therapeutic centers, and exercise facilities to receive an education and understanding of neurological sciences and interventions that allow for him to sustain a high functioning quality of life.
The Center for Neuro Recovery
After almost five years from his personal injury, Kevin was able to assist in building one of the top post rehabilitation comprehensive neurological training facilities in the United States located in North Palm Beach, Florida. This training facility, called the Center for Neuro Recovery (CNR), utilizes the best unbiased and validated training methodologies and research. It also utilizes the best equipment to date for not only the spinal cord injury population, but other neurological injuries such as:
- Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBIs);
- Multiple Sclerosis (MS);
- Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS);
- Cauda Equina Syndrome (CES);
- Arteriovenous Malformation (AVM); and
- Neuromyelitis Optica (NMO).
Just to name some of the major disorders that The Center for Neuro Recovery provides therapy regimens for.
Helping Others by Increasing SCI and TBI Awareness
Simultaneously, Kevin and his family were able to build a family Foundation — called the Unlimited Abilities Foundation — to assist others with disabilities. It has now received national recognition for the continued work on educational, vocational, therapeutic, and recreational activities such as Disabled Scuba Diving, Outdoor, and Indoor activities for individuals who have suffered different disabilities and disorders.
Over the last year, the Foundation and its ambassadors have been working with city, county, and state officials to obtain accessible beach mats on beaches and parks throughout the Southeast region of the United States. This Foundation has also been advocating and lobbying on behalf of the disabled community for the last three years. Working together with many state and federal officials, the goal has been to bring new laws that remove income caps and restrictions that stop individuals from earning a living wage while maintaining their home health care needs. Together, Kevin with the help of his family and many amazing friends working alongside each other, quietly and respectfully continue to bring changes to people’s lives who have disabilities.
Kevin is proud to sit on three national corporate disability advisory broads that help many companies understand how to improve their workplace or improve their customer satisfaction with the disabled community. Kevin is honored to work with so many great people in his positions that want the best for their employees, customers or guests.
As of today, a cure has not yet been found for spinal cord injury or other neurological disorders, Kevin continues to stay in contact and work with researchers from around the country to stay up on new and emerging research that continues to improve the lives of individuals affected by these catastrophic injuries. Kevin continues to work with different manufacturers and modality companies to understand new emerging technologies and how to implement them into each community, as they continue to come to the forefront each and every year for the disabled community.
On Tuesday, September 17th, Rich Kneeland from Ocean Conversions & Mobility left the Center for Neuro Recovery after a mobility equipment service with several new clients. Rich has been in the mobility industry for over 20 years and has extensive knowledge in mobility equipment and vehicles. Rich spends time with every client and educates them on the variety of adaptive equipment available for their individual circumstances.
After sustaining a traumatic spinal cord injury or stroke, one of the most common questions people ask is: “Will I ever be able to drive again?” Here’s a quick explanation of how Rich helps his clients get behind the wheel (or equivalent controls) once again:
Step 1: Providing Mobility Vehicle Education and Assessing Needs
The first step is to meet with a certified driving instructor who can evaluate an individual’s functional ability and can provide a mobility dealer with a list of recommended driving equipment. When it comes to mobility, there is no single vehicle or piece of adaptive equipment that works for everybody—because different people have unique needs. This is why the mobility industry is constantly evolving, and today there are more options than ever before. Because of this, it is imperative to work with a knowledgeable mobility consultant to find the most suitable equipment for your particular disability.
The mobility equipment and adaptations required to enable driving will vary based on the type of disability you have and your functional ability. Companies such as Dodge, Chrysler, Toyota, and Honda all manufacture minivans that can be adapted for wheelchair or scooter use, but each type has certain pros and cons.
Rich often explains the advantages and disadvantages of having a side entry or rear entry conversion and the functional differences between a fold-out or in-floor ramp. BraunAbility and Vantage Mobility are the two largest wheelchair van conversion companies. So, Rich works closely with both of them to stay apprised of new products and innovations.
Step 2: Choosing Driving Equipment for the Vehicle
Once a vehicle and conversion are selected, the driving equipment can be chosen. As with the vehicle types and mobility conversions, there are many adaptive driving equipment options available. For example, there are electronic or manual hand controls as well as systems to control secondary vehicle functions such as the turn signals. Adaptations can be made for driving from a wheelchair or a 6-way power seat can be installed for those with the ability to transfer.
It’s important to note that not all adaptations involve a mobility van. For those who have right-side paralysis due to a stroke, a left foot accelerator can be installed as well as crossover controls for the vehicle’s turn signals.
The mobility equipment described here is only a small sample of what is available in the marketplace today and working with a knowledgeable mobility consultant is an important part of the process of getting back on the road to recovery.
Step 3: Ongoing Therapy and Recovery
After the initial rehabilitation for neurological injuries such as a spinal cord injury or stroke, an individual may want to continue their recovery progress in a local activity-based therapy facility. Such training can be useful for improving function and mobility, making it easier for SCI and TBI survivors to get behind the wheel again. For example, the Center for Neuro Recovery is a post-rehabilitation neurological training facility located in Palm Beach County.
For over a decade, the Center for Neuro Recovery has assisted hundreds of disabled clients by increasing their strength, function, and independence. In addition to the hands on training, the facility is an educational resource to clients by bringing in approved vendors to provide knowledge and products that will aid in their recovery process.
To date, they are considered one of the most comprehensive neurological training facilities in the United States and have been written up in various national and international publications due to the results they have achieved with their clients. The Center for Neuro Recovery program utilizes the latest equipment that is backed by validated, unbiased research and they continually incorporate this cutting-edge knowledge into each client’s training regimen. Clients work with certified exercise physiologists for three hours a day and up to five days a week depending on their abilities.
They believe in providing the best possible equipment and training at the most cost effective price. The Center for Neuro Recovery program is results driven and has worked with clients both locally and from around the world. Their motto is “removing limits one step at a time.”
For additional mobility information and resources please visit:
To learn more about the Center for Neuro Recovery and the work they do on a daily basis, please visit:
Written by Vincent DolanA the Director of Public Affairs at SpinalCord.com Vincent has had the opportunity to speak with thousands of individuals (and families) during every step of the recovery process. Vincent has combined his legal and marketing expertise to create the single largest resource for those impacted by a spinal cord or other catastrophic injury. While gathering and sharing these resources Vincent also spends time answering the SpinalCord.com hotline which allows him to better understand what families are going through. Vincent is actively involved in supporting various non profits within the SCI community, and is always open to helping in whatever way he can. Vincent also works with our sponsors Swope, Rodante P.A. to ensure families have every opportunity to obtain the resources which improve the quality of life for individuals after a spinal cord injury.
See what Swope, Rodante Has Done for Others With Catastrophic Injuries
“What made me most excited was to be able to help my family, being able to pull the burden out of them that they’ve been struggling with. That’s what made me feel the best. Everything else to come, is to come. And we’re going to live life how we have been, just not going to have to worry about buying the supplies that I need.”
"As I got better, which I did in the future, I think I remember researching them [Swope, Rodante P.A.] myself and found that they are very good at what they do. "