Zimmerman Program Gets People Moving

Just over 16 years ago, Dany Baker’s life changed after a single car accident left him with an injury to his thoracic vertebrae that took nearly all the use of his legs.

Now, with the help of Dr. John Mekala, DPT, and the Zimmerman Program at RehabEdge in Hillsboro, Baker is able to stand up and get his legs moving again with the use of a Biodex Unweighing System.

Combined with a treadmill, the system helps people of all ages who have been affected by strokes or head/spinal cord injuries, amputees, orthopedic and neurologic disorders, and much more, to practice walking while giving their bodies needed stress relief and support.

The Unweighing System uses a 3-point pressure relief system to help alleviate any pain with standing. The harness, which straps around the legs, torso and gluteal folds, can relieve up to 180 lbs. of the individual’s weight.

“The benefits from this program include reduced risk of kidney stones, increased balance and blood flow, and many of the other physiological benefits of standing,” said Mekala.

The Zimmerman Program is named in honor of long time Hillsboro resident Bob Zimmerman who helped Mekala start RehabEdge in 2003. Zimmerman passed away on Aug. 22, 2009, after a lengthy battle with lung cancer.

“Bob helped make me who I am today,” Mekala said. “His family and this community have given (RehabEdge) so much over the years that this program is our way of trying to reciprocate that kindness.”

Appointments are needed to use the unweighing system and may be made by calling RehabEdge at 532-3330.

Each session is free and lasts at least half an hour. Evening and weekend appointments are available.

Participants in the Zimmerman Program are asked to have a family member or caregiver present to help increase participation in the program.