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Dr. John McDonald

Dr. John McDonald was the first doctor to give me any kind of hope after my injury. I was fortunate to meet him at the same meeting that I met all the amazing people from the CRPF (Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation) and Brooke Ellison.

When I met Dr. McDonald, he squatted down to my eye level so he could look directly at me. I was new to a wheelchair and was used to talking to people’s chests, so I really appreciated him looking me in the eye when he talked to me.

He grabbed my limp hand and began moving it around in his hands and examining it. He told me that there was no reason that I would not gain function in my wrists. He was just opening the International Center for Spinal Cord Injury at the Kennedy Krieger Institute in Baltimore, Maryland, and invited me to be one of the first patients.

Dr. McDonald was Christopher Reeve’s neurologist, and through his work with Reeve, he developed Restorative Therapy. The focus of this work is to “optimize the body’s ability for self-repair”. Restorative Therapy is based on the concept that the nervous system requires an optimal level of patterned activity in order to simply maintain itself as well as to maximize response of regeneration after injury. He offers hope to patients with spinal cord injuries.

Since I’ve been in Dr. McDonald’s care I have not experienced any of the medical complications that are so common to people with spinal cord injuries. I am very impressed with the people he has working for him, and the research he is doing.

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