Frazier Rehab Institute helps Louisville man train for Mini Marathon


by Claudia Coffey

Posted on April 25, 2013 at 6:40 PM

Updated Thursday, Apr 25 at 6:42 PM

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- More than 18,000 people will cross the finish line for the Mini Marathon on Saturday, among them, 20 participants with spinal cord injuries.

One year ago, this didn't even seem possible for 24-year-old Joshua Sparks. That's because he was told he may never walk again.

Paralyzed from the waist down, he is now learning to walk, even train for the Mini Marathon thanks to Locomotor Training at Frazier Rehab Institute.

"I can feel the muscles moving, I just know it's not under my own power. And eventually when that happens, It's gonna be one of the greatest days of my life," Sparks said.

Last year, Sparks woke up to excruciating pain in his shoulders. After being rushed to the hospital,  he suddenly couldn't walk. Doctors had found a blood clot that had ruptured on his spine.
Joshua faced the prospect of never being able to walk again and now a year later he's going to cross the finish line

"Since this has happened, I want to push myself and see exactly what I can do," Sparks said.

His mother, Davita, will be supporting him every step of the race. "I want him to succeed. I want him to live a full of a life as possible," Davita said, "I will do whatever I can do to make that happen."

Sparks won't be the only one participating in the Mini Marathon, there are a number of other participants from across the country that have spinal cord injuries that are in Louisville learning the latest in rehabilitation.

The Locomotor Training used at Frazier Rehab Institute is being called groundbreaking.

"Being up here, I'm up every day, I'm moving I'm walking. It's very uplifting to me," Sparks said.

The team of doctors, therapists and patients in the marathon are called "Team Reeve" after Christopher Reeve.
The money they have raised to be in the marathon will be directly used for research and treatment at the Frazier Rehab Institute.

To donate to the team, click here.