Rob Heitz


Drs. Chen, Jayaraman and Rymer Featured in Documentary About Former Patient


Escaping Paralysis


In mid-August, former patient Rob Heitz plans to swim the San Francisco Bay — from Alcatraz Island back to shore — to raise funds and awareness for the Paralysis Recovery Foundation, which he founded.

A little less than 19 years ago, this goal would have been unthinkable.

In 2003, Rob sustained a spinal cord injury that left him almost completely paralyzed from the chest down. After years of medical care — especially at our organization — he recovered almost full function, earned a degree in biomedical engineering, began working with a company that makes robotic exoskeletons for rehabilitation, and started the Paralysis Recovery Foundation to support affordable medical care for patients with paralysis.

Episode 3 of Escaping Paralysisa docuseries following Rob’s story — includes interviews with three Shirley Ryan AbilityLab experts: David Chen, MD, section chief, Spinal Cord Injury; Arun Jayaraman, PT, PhD, executive director, Technology & Innovation Hub; and Zev Rymer, MD, PhD, director, Sensory Motor Performance Program.


In the episode, Drs. Chen, Jayaraman and Rymer explain how surgery and a clinical trial of the Lokomat robotic rehabilitation device helped Rob’s recovery.

Click below to watch episode 3 of Escaping Paralysis:

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