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Article updated: 1/2/2013 11:57 AM

Kirk: Experimental therapy helped him relearn to walk

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A 2012 file photo of an image taken from video and provided by Sen. Mark Kirk's office shows Kirk going through a walking exercise at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago.

Associated Press

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Kathy Pacholski of Chicago traverses a balance beam with Research Scientist and Physical Therapist T. George Hornby close by her side at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago. U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk and Pacholski, who both participated in an experimental walking trial at the Institute, credit the therapy sessions with helping their recovery.

BRIAN HILL | Staff Photographer

Kathy Pacholski of Chicago called the exercise room at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago the "torture chamber." Both Pacholski and U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk took part in the same experimental program for stroke patients, which emphasizes learning tasks through high intensity and effort.

BRIAN HILL | Staff Photographer

Kathy Pacholski dribbles and walks quickly as she works with Research Scientist and Physical Therapist T. George Hornby at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago. The exercises are part of an experimental walking training regimen for stroke patients, completed by both Pacholski and U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk.

BRIAN HILL | Staff Photographer

Kathy Pacholski moves her feet quickly and deliberately around cones while she works with Research Scientist and Physical Therapist T. George Hornby at The Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago. Senator Kirk would have done much of the same rehabilitation exercises that Pacholski has finished.

BRIAN HILL | Staff Photographer

Kathy Pacholski works with Research Scientist and Physical Therapist T. George Hornby at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, where she participated in a walking trial for stroke victims. Patients often wear a harness and a heart monitor while performing exercises.

BRIAN HILL | Staff Photographer

About this Article

A beaming Mark Kirk emerged from a Willis Tower stairwell on Nov. 4 after climbing more than three dozen flights of stairs on his own. The U.S. senator, who lost much of the function in his left arm and leg after suffering an ischemic stroke on Jan. 21, 2012, credits an experimental program at the Rehabilitation Institute with restoring his ability to walk.
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    • A 2012 file photo of an image taken from video and provided by Sen. Mark Kirk's office shows Kirk going through a walking exercise at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago.
    • Kathy Pacholski of Chicago traverses a balance beam with Research Scientist and Physical Therapist T. George Hornby close by her side at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago. U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk and Pacholski, who both participated in an experimental walking trial at the Institute, credit the therapy sessions with helping their recovery.
    • Kathy Pacholski of Chicago called the exercise room at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago the “torture chamber.” Both Pacholski and U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk took part in the same experimental program for stroke patients, which emphasizes learning tasks through high intensity and effort.
    • Kathy Pacholski dribbles and walks quickly as she works with Research Scientist and Physical Therapist T. George Hornby at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago. The exercises are part of an experimental walking training regimen for stroke patients, completed by both Pacholski and U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk.
    • Kathy Pacholski moves her feet quickly and deliberately around cones while she works with Research Scientist and Physical Therapist T. George Hornby at The Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago. Senator Kirk would have done much of the same rehabilitation exercises that Pacholski has finished.
    • Kathy Pacholski works with Research Scientist and Physical Therapist T. George Hornby at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, where she participated in a walking trial for stroke victims. Patients often wear a harness and a heart monitor while performing exercises.
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