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Madonna Rehabilitation Hospitals

Lawyer ready to give back after spinal cord injury

December 14, 2021

Shantel Thompson’s path to becoming a lawyer veered off course in early October. Just days after passing the bar exam, Shantel was involved in a shooting that resulted in a spinal cord injury.

 “I don’t want that one moment to define me for the rest of my life,” Shantel said. “I still want to go on and become a great lawyer, have my own family one day, and help the people of my community.”

Despite facing huge hurdles, Shantel’s faith has given her the ability to focus on what’s possible during recovery at Madonna Rehabilitation Hospitals. For the first time since the accident, Shantel took a few steps in Madonna’s aquatic therapy program, which helps increase mobility, flexibility and strength.

 “When I first came from the hospital to Madonna, I couldn’t even sit up by myself,” Shantel recalls. “Now I look at myself, and I’m doing car transfers and breaking down wheelchairs and getting into the car. I’m maintaining my sitting where I can play catch with my therapists.”

Dr. Paul Krabbenhoft, the Spinal Cord Injury Program Medical Director and spinal cord injury survivor, worked with Shantel and saw her progress during therapy.

“From day one she was very committed, very devoted to whatever she had to do to get better to get her life back. I was able to give her encouragement and tips,” said Krabbenhoft.

Madonna’s muscle strengthening technology like the Moveo XP and the Functional Electrical Stimulation (FES) bike helped Shantel hit target milestones. Shantel credits her recovery to hard work and the care she has received at Madonna.

“They’re very knowledgeable in what they practice in and that I appreciate,” Shantel said. “I’ve never been in any type of situation like this before.”

She’ll continue her care at Madonna’s outpatient therapy, eager to see more progress. Despite the bump in the road, this public servant is giving all she’s got, ready to give back to others.

“I was working, volunteering, serving the community, all while preparing to be a lawyer. I’m eager to get back to some sense of normalcy,” Shantel said. “Even though it may look different. I may be rolling out of Madonna in a wheelchair, but I guarantee the next time I step on this campus, I will be walking again.”

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