While in San Diego last week, Dallas and I the opportunity to speak with both patients and staff at Sharp Rehabilitation Center. Sharp has been a leading provider of rehabilitation and physical therapy services for 45 years, addressing catastrophic injury with a team approach to wellness. We were connected with the center through my brother-in-law, Ryan Baker. The day after he graduated from high school, Ryan was in a motor vehicle accident, which resulted in a spinal cord injury. Ryan went on to college where he became active in adaptive sports. From his love of tennis came the inspiration to establish the first official Wheelchair Lacrosse team, based in San Diego but expanding to other cities across the country as we speak. Ryan is also a founding member of the Sharp Rehabilitation Men’s Spinal Cord Injury Support Group, and is a peer mentor for newly injured patients.
Ryan asked if we could present a basic nutrition seminar at Sharp, to help educate both patients and staff about the important role nutrition plays in managing inflammation and recovering from acute injury. On the afternoon of August 24th, we talked to a group of 25 patients, physical and occupational therapists, rehab engineers and doctors about the foundations of good nutrition. Dallas spoke from his nine years of practicing PT experience, and talked about the role food choices play in everything from energy levels, sleep quality and managing body composition – something that is of special importance for those confined to a wheelchair. He also discussed the role diet plays in recovery from injury, both in the immediate time period after the injury and in preventing further complications in the years to come. I discussed simple and effective ways to make better food choices in everyday meal planning, and answered questions about how to implement these changes in a way that feels sustainable and balanced.
We received great feedback from the group, and hope to follow up with those who are taking on our Whole30 program as a jump start to new eating habits. We want to thank the Sharp patients and staff for welcoming us so warmly, and give a special thanks to my brother Ryan for all of the work he has done to change the lives of others. Visit www.wheelchairlacrosse.com to read more about their groundbreaking lacrosse program, or become a fan on Facebook here.
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