International Center for Spinal Cord Injury

ABC Baltimore (WMAR-TV): Paralyzed Loyola Football Star Gives Back to Baltimore

April 18, 2014
An inspiring Institute patient pursues therapy and a life to help others

The Loyola star was told he would never walk again. But eight years later that hasn’t stopped Brooks from making the city he loves a better place. At Kennedy Krieger, miracle workers saddle up Van Brooks to harness like he was running in the Preakness Stakes. His foot trembles as he drags his blue and green Nikes across the floor. Watch online.

ABC Baltimore (WMAR-TV): Technology. More than just a game.

March 4, 2014
Gaming systems used as therapy tools for Kennedy Krieger’s young patients

For most people, video games are strictly for entertainment. For therapists and patients who use these gaming systems as tools, however, the technology is important to improving quality of life. Rebecca Martin, manager of clinical education and training at Kennedy Krieger Institute, works with patients in the spinal cord unit who have varying levels of paralysis. For them, a range of technology from standard video games to more specialized virtual reality systems are important tools for rehabilitation.

International Center for Spinal Cord Injury 10 Year Anniversary Celebration

Jun 15 2015 - 3:30pm - Jun 19 2015 - 10:30pm

The International Center for Spinal Cord Injury at Kennedy Krieger Institute will celebrate its 10th anniversary with a series of events highlighting spinal cord injury and paralysis research, advancements, and treatments.

Monday, June 15

3:30 PM - 8 PM


Success Stories

The International Center for Spinal Cord Injury offers more than just the hope of recovery from what was once thought to be an irreversible and life altering injury. Through the use of Activity Based Restorative Therapies (RT) great promise has been shown helping adults and children with chronic spinal cord injuries recover sensation, movement, independence, and overall improved quality of life even many months or years after an injury.

Debbie Melnick's Story

For years, Debbie Melnick led an active life, despite having multiple sclerosis.

The high-energy, 40-year-old heads her own stationery business and enjoyed running and playing basketball to stay fit. But in 2013, when Melnick was seven months pregnant, she caught the flu. That’s when the spasticity began.

Spasticity, or feelings of stiffness and a range of involuntary muscle spasms, is a common symptom of multiple sclerosis.

Childhood Restored

December 2, 2014
Activity-based restorative therapies got Penelope back on her feet after a spinal cord injury

Penelope MillerAbout a week after Penelope Miller was born, in July 2012, her parents noticed her leg movement was more frog-like than her older brother’s was when he was a baby, and she didn’t have a strong kick. A visit to the doctor determined that everything was fine. Yet her parents, Tim and Heather, remained concerned. The family continued to visit doctors, and Penelope seemed to get stronger.

Recent Publications and Presentations

Our ICSCI researchers and clinicians investigate and publish on various avenues of recovery, paralysis, and regeneration.

Aquatic Therapy Program

Kennedy Krieger Institute • 801 North Broadway • Baltimore, MD 21205


Albert Recio, MD, RPT, PTRP
Medical Director, Aquatic Therapy


Christy Sachs
Adapted Aquatics and Wellness Manager

Designed to augment land-based therapy, our aquatic therapy program features two state-of-the-art pools with a range of warm water temperatures. It offers different aquatic environments depending on patients’ needs.

Outpatient Medical Clinic

In our outpatient clinic, physiatrists provide evaluations, periodic follow-ups, and medical management of chronic spinal cord injuries and paralysis. The focus is to minimize and prevent medical complications. Transition of care from pediatric to adult specialists is accomplished seamlessly, providing lifelong follow-up and health promotion.

Outpatient Therapy Program

Our medically supervised outpatient therapy program has two unique therapy options for individuals with chronic spinal cord dysfunction.

Inpatient Program

A comprehensive evaluation and treatment program for children and young adults, ranging in age from birth to 21, with acute or chronic spinal cord dysfunction, including those requiring ventilator assistance. 

During this program, the treatment team, directed by a pediatric physiatrist, evaluates each patient. Based on these initial evaluations, an intensive rehabilitation plan is tailored to the unique needs of each patient and his or her family. Patients in this program receive a minimum of five hours of therapy each day and most receive more.

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