Paralyzed mom making progress in recovery from stabbing

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by JANET ST. JAMES

WFAA

Posted on June 29, 2010 at 9:38 PM

Updated Friday, Jul 2 at 12:01 AM

STEPHENVILLE — There is some medical progress to report for the North Texas mother who was left unable to walk after being stabbed by a stranger.

Brandi Todd was paralyzed from the waist-down when her spinal cord was nearly severed by a mental patient as she watched her children play at a Stephenville park in March.

This week, she's taking the first steps to regain her mobility, strapping into the pedals of a stationary bike.

"My brain's yelling, 'Kick! Kick!" she said during a physical therapy session.

After being paralyzed, no one knew if Todd would ever walk again. Doctors still don't know, but therapy could help determine her potential.

"She's still in the very early stages of rediscovering what is there, what isn't there," said Russell Jennings, who invented a stationary bike to help paralyzed people exercise — something that's often ignored.

The hope is that conscious movements — however small — can help the entire body make microscopic connections.

"It's not just regenerating nerves," Jennings said. "It's trying to regenerate the body, the muscles, the strength, endurance, the heart, the brain, the motivation."

Brandi Todd is determined. After working for an hour, she pushed the pedals an entire revolution without any assistance.

It may seem like a very small achievement, but for Todd and her children, each accomplishment is monumental.

E-mail jstjames@wfaa.com

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