Always moving forward

Craig Doninger closeup

Everything changed for Craig Doninger at a family swim party in August 2010. He dove into a pool as he had done 100 times before. But this time, he hit the bottom. A spinal cord injury took Craig’s ability to walk, but it hasn’t stopped him from achieving his goals–with a hand from the Easterseals Rehabilitation Center and its many life-changing services.

The Easterseals Rehabilitation Center in Evansville has customized power wheelchairs for Craig, made accessibility modifications to his home, and taught him to drive using hand controls. Ongoing therapy has helped him build strength and learn new ways to accomplish his goals. Craig’s achievements include attending college and launching a successful career with Old National Bank.

Recently Craig started aquatic therapy at the Easterseals Rehabilitation Center’s fully-accessible, full-size, warm-water therapeutic pool–the only one of its kind in the community. “The first thing I noticed was the relief I felt from floating,” said Craig, who often battles stiffness and pain due to his paralysis. “The warm water takes the pressure off my joints.” But Craig’s pool sessions with his Easterseals therapist are anything but easy! “Working in the pool is exceedingly difficult,” Craig explained. “No matter which way I move my arms, there is resistance against them. I want to work different parts of my body and the pool has me using muscles I do not normally use. I’m usually pretty sore for a couple days afterwards. That just means it’s beneficial!”

Aquatic therapy also allows Craig to do things he might not be able to accomplish on land, like getting up on his feet again. “Standing is great in the pool!” he said. “My ankles are typically very tight, and the pool allows me to stand without putting a lot of pressure on them.”

Craig is determined to stay strong and build his fitness levels and endurance, so he can keep reaching his work and personal goals. Thanks to the support of the Tri-State community, Easterseals will be here to lend a hand in Craig’s journey of independence.

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