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Arnie Fonseca, MS

In the right hands, hope can find a way. This statement carries considerable meaning for my family and me.  Specifically, when my 22-year-old son Brandon became head injured in August of 2001, we were suddenly thrust into a situation that I have been living for 12 years with my patients and their families.  As I was standing in the hospital’s rehabilitation area one night in Phoenix, I realized that I needed to do something for Brandon.  Although I owned a small physical therapy clinic, I knew it was not sufficient for what my son needed.  At that moment, I began making notes on what would be needed to create the best therapeutic environment for him and others who had traumatic head injury or spinal cord injury (SCI) or were in in similar situations. As indicated above, my philosophy is that in the right hands, hope can find a way. At the Neuro Institute, we combine a unique, personalized and nurturing environment with the latest technology.

To assist my son, I began looking for the best rehabilitation programs available, which I concluded would be either Atlanta’s Shepherd Center or Bakersfield’s Center for Neuro Skills. After much soul-searching and prayer, we sent Brandon to the latter.  I knew that if I could bring that type of energy and intensity into our challenging Neuro-Rehabilitation program, along with great equipment like the Electrologic Galaxy Bike, Sci-Fit Pro II, Uppertone, NeuroPulse, Neuro Gait Trainer and a 30 foot I-Beam Walking Machine, we could create a unique and unmatched therapeutic environment.  We also believe that  “immersion” therapy, combining physical and occupational therapy along with cognitive retraining for multiple hours per day, is the key to functional recovery for those who are neuro-challenged. 

The Neuro Institute believes that regardless of mobility, a soul is always in flight.  Everyday, we encourage our clients to soar, and, as a result, help them to reclaim their lives.

We believe that aggressive, specialized therapy combined with a consistent, positive attitude works best.  My extensive experience, including observing my son’s progress, has led me to say, “We don’t believe in plateaus!” We will find the optimal exercises, equipment, and techniques to create the best opportunities for each patient and their families.  At the Neuro Institute, each individual can be free to let go and soar to be the best they can be. Remember, the best equipment and programs plus a positive attitude and your effort equals success!

Case Studies:

Over the past few years, we have had clients with traumatic brain or spinal cord injury experience great rehabilitation success:

Anthony: I started working with Anthony, an L 1-2 paraplegic, six months after his accident in 1996.  He had limited leg movement and was told that he would probably be in a wheelchair the rest of his life.  He began a program of intense strength and conditioning.  Anthony has since fathered a beautiful little boy and walks with a cane.

Kathy: A 41-year-old former registered nurse, Kathy suffered brain damage from a drug overdose.  Her family was told that she would probably be in a vegetative state the rest of her life.  Thanks to a dedicated mother and hard work, Kathy is now talking, fairly independent, learning to drive, and moving towards independence.  She does regular physical exercise, reads, writes, works math problems and many other self-directed activities.

Joe: Although Joe, a C-6 quadriplegic, was released from the hospital as just another wheelchair-bound quad, he has regained the ability to walk, ride a bike, and function out of the wheelchair.  He continues to gain hand and leg strength and movement.  He lifts weights, does FES Bio-Feedback, rides a bike, and walks. Joe is completing his computer-drafting degree.

Lou: Currently 28 years old, Lou was head injured over nine years ago.  When we met, he faced a life of being institutionalized in a wheelchair.  Initially, weak with poor balance, Lou has now improved to the point of being able to run and exercise like any able-bodied adult.  He can now leg-press over 500 pounds.  He is completing a four-year business degree at Arizona State University. 

Andrea: Andrea became spinal cord injured in a 1993 skiing accident.  After an innovative surgical procedure, she came to us seven years after her injury to maximize her restored function. Andrea worked with us for nine months.  Being a T-6 complete paraplegic, she had little movement below the mid-section.  After aggressive therapy for up to four hours per day, Andrea can now ride a bike without assistance, crawl unassisted, do unassisted sit-ups, and do assisted squats.  She will be returning to us to further her rehabilitation.

Amena: A 46- year old woman from the United Arab Emeritus, Amena sustained a complete T-10 burst fracture injury. After a special spinal cord surgery, she worked with us for over nine months. Her therapy included immersion for over four hours of daily therapeutic exercise.  Although she initially had no ability to ride the FES Bike, she ended her program with regular workouts of over an hour and higher levels of resistance.  She has regained hip and torso control and can walk with leg braces.

John: Working as a construction foreman nine years ago, John sustained a T-10 spinal cord injury. When we met, John, a high-functioning paraplegic, had slight leg movement.  With intense work, John not only regained the ability to walk with KFO leg braces, but also could take steps without arm support.  Furthermore, he can now walk with a walker or parallel bars with small braces, which allows knee flexion.  He continues to gain strength and improve his balance.


In summary, the Neuro Institute’s programs will continue to grow and evolve as we learn more about what is best for the neuro-challenged. This journey has become personal because of its effect on my family.  We will do what is necessary to reach our goals and help others reach theirs.

For more information, call the Neuro Institute at 1-888-22-neuro (63870) or 480-735-0124, checkout, or write 1221 W. Warner Rd., Suite 102, Tempe, AZ 85284.


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