'Staying at home...can be just as dangerous:' Paralysis recovery patients missing out on therapy while gyms are closed in North Carolina

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ByAna Rivera via WTVD logo
Wednesday, June 10, 2020
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Paralysis recovery clients hoping for gyms to reopen

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- For nearly three months, exercise equipment has sat unused inside of NextStepRaleigh.

"We weren't really sure how long this was going to last. What the impact would be not just on our people but just on the center," said Yolanda Ortiz, director or training.

Some of its clients are considered at-risk of contracting COVID-19. But when consistency and repetition are the keys to recovery, that much time away can be detrimental.

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"Staying at home and not moving and not getting that regular activity can be just as dangerous, maybe more, for some of our people," Ortiz said.

NextStepRaleigh is a paralysis recovery center but it is considered a fitness center. So under the state's Phase 2 directives, it is not able to reopen. So the nearly two dozen clients who rely on the center are forced to try their best to make progress at home.

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"They've been asking, 'when are you going to open? When are you going to open?' So it was definitely hard to have to go back and say, 'well, we've got another five weeks,'" Ortiz said.

But when the time comes, Ortiz said they're more than ready to get back to work.

"I'm looking forward to opening back up and just kind of getting back into the groove of things," she said.

Once the center reopens, it will only allow one client in at a time and will do temperature checks. Staff members will wear masks.