Journey Forward is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to bettering the lives of those who have suffered a Spinal Cord Injury through an intense exercise program

“Exercise is important to everyone and even more so to those who have suffered a Spinal Cord Injury”

#HighFivesAthlete, Ryan McLaren recently received a High Fives Empowerment grant for $3,300 to be used at Journey Forward

Ryan was skiing a bluebird day at Mad River Glen on St. Patrick’s Day following an amazing snow storm in Vermont. Unfortunately, the mountain was not forgiving that day and Ryan suffered a burst fracture of the L1 vertebrae and an incomplete spinal cord injury while landing a small drop during a morning run. He was airlifted to University of Vermont Medical Center where he underwent surgery to fuse his T12 to L2 and reduce the compression on his spinal cord.

Following surgery, Ryan was experiencing paralysis below the knees, and after 4 days in the ICU and 2 days as an inpatient, he was transported to Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital in Boston, MA to undergo 8 weeks of acute rehabilitation and begin his path towards recovery.

In the “short” term, Ryan’s recovery goal is simply to walk again in a functional way. With his current rehab going well, that goal is possible within this critical first 6-9 months. Long term, Ryan’s goal is to come as close as possible to the active lifestyle as he enjoyed in Vermont prior to his accident.

Ryan is from the Mad River Valley in Vermont, which ties to the roots of the organization. He is currently walking with assistance and is working hard toward an amazing recovery.