Community Rowing Inc and Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital Partner to offer Innovative Exercise Program for Community with Disabilities

BRIGHTON, MA - As the twin epidemics of obesity and inactivity grow to encompass almost two thirds of adults, one high risk population has received little attention; persons with disabilities, specifically those with some form of spinal cord injuries. Services available for this high risk group have been limited despite the significant incidence of cardiovascular health issues.

Recent research conducted by Dr. Andrew Taylor at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital combining functional electrical stimulation or FES and the sport of rowing achieved impressive results for this population. Based on this success, Spaulding established the Exercise for Persons with Disabilities or ExPD program at its main facility to high demand. To provide greater access to this innovative technology, the ExPD program partnered with Community Rowing Inc. or CRI to add another location at CRI. Recently Spaulding, CRI and the ExPD program celebrated the installation of two more FES rowing machines at the CRI Boathouse in Brighton.

"The goal of the program is to provide effective methods of exercise to increase overall health and wellness to an under-served and at risk population, the community with disabilities. The installation of these machines at CRI will enable the program to expand its ability to reach this population in the Boston area in an engaging and active environment," said Dr. Andrew Taylor, Director, Cardiovascular Research Laboratory, Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital.

Since the ExPD program?s initial launch over a year ago the program has grown to have over 40 participants. Many participants not only report increased cardiovascular health but improved muscle definition in their legs and improved quality of life.

"As a quad, I was so pleased to hear about Spaulding's partnership with Community Rowing Inc. Their joint venture is testament to both organizations? commitment to enhancing the life experiences of persons of all abilities, and I am excited about the possibility of entering the program myself someday," said State Senator Thomas P. Kennedy.

The FES system is a technology allows paralyzed muscles to contribute to whole body exercise. In this way both the paralyzed legs and innervated arms are under voluntary control and higher exercise intensities can be reached and sustained. In fact, some FES-rowers have achieved unprecedented work rates comparable to those of able-bodied rowers.

"Spaulding is proud to play a role in bringing important evidence based programs like this to the broader community. As a leader in rehabilitative care, we feel strongly that our role is to continue to push for novel ways to improve the quality of life for the communities we serve. This partnership with CRI is another way we will be able to do that," said David E. Storto, President, Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital.

"Embedding a major rehabilitation initiative in the community is an exciting and powerful addition to Community Rowing's programs and mission, which is making rowing accessible to everyone. We're delighted to partner with Spaulding and lead the way with this new technology," said Bruce Smith, CRI Director.

Participants in the ExPD program must be at least 18 years of age and have had a spinal cord injury. Participation in the program involves a full assessment and a nominal equipment rental and exercise fee. Locations for the program are at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital main campus on Nashua Street and the CRI Boathouse. For more information contact Glen Picard via phone 617 573 2786, email expd@partners.org or click here.

About the Spaulding Rehabilitation Network

A member of Partners HealthCare, The Spaulding Rehabilitation Network includes Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital its main campus, a 196-bed facility, located in Boston, as well as Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital Cape Cod, two long term care facilities Spaulding Hospital Cambridge and Spaulding Hospital North Shore and two skilled nursing facilities, as well as twenty three outpatient sites throughout the Greater Boston area. Spaulding is a teaching hospital of Harvard Medical School as well as the official rehabilitation hospital of the New England Patriots. Spaulding is the only rehabilitation hospital in New England continually ranked since 1995 by U.S. News and World Report in its Best Hospitals survey with a #4 ranking in 2010. For more information, please click here.

Media Contacts

For media inquiries, please contact the Spaulding Communications Department at (617) 952-5325 or by email