Who qualifies to participate in the NeuroRecovery Network?

The Reeve Foundation’s NeuroRecovery Network (NRN) is a network of cutting-edge clinical centers and Community Fitness and Wellness Facilities that make up two branches of care for people living with spinal cord injury and other physical disabilities.

  • The clinical centers enroll individuals with a complete or incomplete cervical and thoracic spinal cord injury who have some muscle tone in their legs and a lesion above T12.
  • The Community Fitness and Wellness Facilities offer activity-based exercise programs designed for people with physical disabilities. They are open to participants with walking difficulties related to any cause.

What is the difference between a NRN clinical center and a Community Fitness and Wellness Facility?

The key difference between a clinical center and a Community Fitness and Wellness Facility is who can enroll and participate in the NRN at these sites.

Clinical centers
The NRN clinical centers accept individuals with a complete or incomplete cervical or thoracic spinal cord injury and have some muscle tone in their legs. As part of the program, participants receive intensive Locomotor Training, an activity-based therapy that uses body weight support to repetitively practice standing and stepping.

The NRN clinical centers are uniquely staffed with clinicians, physicians, technicians and therapists, working shoulder to shoulder to develop and administer activity-based therapies, as well as capture data on its impact in real time. This data is crucial to measure the effect of Locomotor Training on the health, quality of life, and function in individuals living with spinal cord injury.

Community Fitness and Wellness Facilities
NRN Community Fitness and Wellness Facilities provide a continuum of care for individuals living with paralysis and can enroll individuals with walking difficulties related to any cause.

In these facilities, activity-based exercise programs are designed specifically for clients with physical disabilities to enable them to be “fit for life." Locomotor Training is also offered as a membership option. They are staffed by athletic trainers, personal trainers and exercise physiologists, all of whom have received specialized NRN training.

What are the necessary steps to enroll in the NRN?

First step is getting a referral and completed medical release from a physician to receive this therapy. This states that he or she is medically and physically stable to participate in the NRN program. All potential participants must be seen by the NRN physician and physical therapists at the NRN facility to be screened for any complicating medical issues that would make this therapy inappropriate. Following this evaluation, if deemed appropriate for this therapy, a plan of treatment will be established.

How long will the course of therapy take?

The average person receives the therapy through the NRN for three to four months, and will undergo around 60 sessions. Each participant is reevaluated every 20 sessions. At that time, the NRN physicians and therapists will take any adjustments to the number of days per week and talk about the goals for the next 20 visits.

How much time will each Locomotor Training session take?

Each session generally lasts 90 minutes. When a participant enters the program, they start five days per week. As they progress through the phases of recovery, the number of days per week declines to four days and then three days per week.

What is the cost of receiving therapy through the NRN? Who will pay for it?

NRN sites are committed to working with every patient to secure reimbursement for participating in this program. It is expected that costs will be covered by your insurance company.

The membership fees for Community Fitness and Wellness Facilities are expected to be covered by the individual. Each of these facilities are independently operated so cost of membership may vary.

What should I bring to each session? Do I have to buy special equipment?

All participants need bring to a training session is loose-fitting clothes appropriate for physical activity. The equipment needed will be provided by the NRN.

What results or long-term improvements can I expect?

A range of well-documented changes have been reported by current and former NRN participants from standing and stepping to improved health and quality of life.

Improvements in trunk control, endurance, speed of walking and balance, result in a better ability to perform daily activities and reduce dependence on caregivers. Additionally, NRN participants have experienced enhanced autonomic functions like cardiovascular, pulmonary, and bladder function, as well as increased bone density and blood flow to the arms and legs. Activity-based therapies may even boost the healing potential of the skin, a huge benefit to those prone to pressure sores.

It is important to note that results will vary from person to person. No two NRN participants will respond in exactly the same way, nor is each participant likely to experience the entire range of possible changes and improvements.

Where are the NRN centers located?

There are currently 11 NRN sites located nationwide: Six are clinical centers and six are community fitness and wellness facilities. The Reeve Foundation is working to expand the NRN and add additional locations as quickly as possible.

Clinical centers

  • Craig Hospital, Englewood, CO
  • Frazier Rehab Institute, Louisville, KY
  • Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation, West Orange, NJ
  • Magee Rehabilitation Hospital, Philadelphia, PA
  • Ohio State University Medical Center, Columbus, OH
  • TIRR Memorial Hermann, Houston, TX

Community Fitness and Wellness Facilities

  • Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute, Minneapolis, MN
  • Frazier Rehab Institute Community Fitness and Wellness Facility, Louisville, KY
  • Journey Forward, Canton, MA
  • NextSteps Chicago, Willow Springs, IL
  • NextStep, Lawndale, CA