Spinal Cord Injury Patient Story


A 35-foot fall didn’t stop Lorri Newstadt

Lorri Newstadt and her husband, Sam, were nearing completion of their summer project, an adult-size tree house, when she fell 35 feet to the ground. Determined to get the best care for her spinal cord injury, Lorri chose Brooks Rehabilitation Hospital. “I think the first thing that struck me at Brooks was when the president of the place stopped by my room to say hello,” Lorri remembers. “How many places do that?”

While at Brooks, Lorri worked closely with physical therapists to build muscle strength. “After weeks of therapy, my upper body was so strong I could get into my chair from the floor.” She also learned invaluable skills from her occupational therapist which included skills to be able to care for herself independently as well as skills to return to work as a part-time Pharmacy Tech. “We’d bake cookies in the rehab kitchen and learn things like how to get groceries in and out of the refrigerator or how to tell if a pot was boiling on the stove.” 

But one of Lorri’s biggest accomplishments was getting behind the wheel. “In the driver training program, I learned to drive using my hands. It felt so good to drive again,” she remembers.

Lorri’s husband Sam offers his perspective of the accident, saying, “To see your wife lying motionless on the ground after a tremendous fall, your whole world starts to sink away. But Brooks doesn’t allow that to happen. My wife was determined to get her life back and Brooks enabled her to do that. There’s nothing I wouldn’t do for Brooks because of all they did for Lorri. I’m still totally in awe of what they do at Brooks.”

Within six months of the accident, Lorri was already back at work. “I like to say when I had my accident, I hit the ground rolling. I mean I didn’t stop,” she explains. “Now I’m doing everything I did before––working, shopping, visiting my mother. Thanks to Brooks, I have my life back.”

Lorri is an active participant in our adaptive sports program.

"Brooks' philosophy says you're not a different person just because you have a disability.  They rebuild people's lives and they are amazing.  I don't know where I would be without them."
- Lorri Newstadt