Conor, a second year learner walked by himself for the first time in two years last week. Conor became unable to walk in 2015 and joined the College last year. He has been active in our sports department as a learner. With a black belt in judo, Conor is no stranger to sports, and whilst on our sports course he has been introduced to several sports that he’s been able to take part in such as Boccia, Wheelchair Basketball and Wheelchair Rugby.
While attending lessons, Conor also sees the physio department for sessions. His physio started off with small movements in an attempt to retrain the neurological pathways in his brain. The first exercises consisted of sitting down and attempting to tense the muscles in each leg but soon enough Conor began to try techniques that would lay the groundwork for moving his legs and feet, which included knocking a bottle back and forth with his feet, performing sit-to-stand exercises and lifting each leg, tensing and holding it in place. There were challenges at first,; Conor would get headaches after exercises making it difficult for him to continue sometimes, but even so, Conor still kept going. Eventually, Conor was introduced to a walker that would help him make a start with walking, and during the Summer, Conor borrowed the walker to use at home so he could continue to train himself in his own time. Finally, Conor has proven that his determination has paid off by showing that he is now able to walk without the aid of a walker.
Conor described the experience as “Life-changing” and went on to say this: “It felt weird but in a good way. I’ve not done this in two years and it’s like seeing the world in a different way”. While the exertion from walking made Conor dizzy and slightly nauseous he was still determined to keep going, even to go as far as walking up to a classroom, knocking on the door and walking through to the surprise of staff and his peers. He thanked his friends and family for supporting him from the beginning, to today, and into the future. When asked about his plans for the future, Conor was unsure at first but did mention how he would like to help people in the same way he’s been helped. In the meantime, Conor will continue to visit physio for regular sessions, increasing his confidence with walking and even practising walking while at home.
To take a look at Conor’s first steps click here.