Important COVID-19 Information Read More
Madonna Rehabilitation Hospitals

Omahan not limited by spinal cord injury

May 29, 2018

Whether walking, cycling or crawling, Zach Peterson is gaining core and muscle strength.

"Just the other day I was sitting on the couch and I was able to lift my leg up with my hip flexor and I am able to kick my legs out," said Zach Peterson, a spinal cord injury survivor.

Zach says he was celebrating Memorial Day Weekend in 2017 at the Lake of the Ozarks with friends when he suffered a spinal cord injury. He underwent spinal fusion surgery and spent a week at the University of Missouri Health Care in Columbia, Missouri, before coming to Madonna’s Lincoln Campus for five weeks of rehabilitation.

"I think everyone’s goal when you first start out with a spinal cord injury is to get up and walk again and get back to 100 percent. And that’s rarely the case with any spinal cord injury and I kind of found that out pretty quick and I just kind of accepted it," said Zach.

Early on accepting the accident affects his mobility, but doesn’t limit what he can do.

"Focusing on what you can improve on and what life can be. I still have things that I can do and I love to do every day and they’re a little bit different," said Zach.

Back to work and back to life, Zach continues to inspire family and friends as he make gains in outpatient therapy at Madonna’s Omaha TherapyPlus location.

"At that time he had a little bit of return of strength in his hips and has slowly but surely been regaining strength in muscle groups in his legs over the course of the past year," said Amy Taylor, Madonna TherapyPlus Physical Therapist.

Each day setting new goals for himself. Staying positive and open-minded about the future.

"Whatever we want to throw at him or try with him he’s game for it and willing to try whatever we want to do," said Amy.

"Let’s see how far we can take this thing. You know after the first couple of months I never pictured I’d be able to do the ekso and I know that eventually I’ll be able to get up and walk again with the AFOs that lock my legs in because I have strength in my legs to do that," said Zach.

Learn more about Madonna's specialized spinal cord injury program.