Stories from 2015

APTA Defining Moment: From Patient to Partner

November 15, 2015

When I first saw Charlie Parkhill, I had no idea he would become such an important figure in my life. I just thought I could help him.

It was 1998 and I was working as a physical therapist (PT) at the Rehabilitation Institute of Michigan in the town of Novi. Charlie, a certified public accountant with a successful business, had sustained a severe neck injury while on vacation with his wife in Mexico. The wave that knocked him down had bruised and partially severed his spinal cord. Physicians…Read More

Crain’s Detroit Business Allied Health Winner: Polly Swingle

August 16, 2015

By: Jay Greene


Polly Swingle wondered nearly 20 years ago if cutting-edge physical therapy conducted on cats with spinal injuries that allowed them use of their hind legs would work on humans. It did.


Working with her patient Charlie Parkhill, a businessman who had injured his spinal cord in a freak swimming accident in 1998, Swingle began to test her ideas in Detroit using high-intensity workouts.


“Charlie was 100 percent successful in his personal and business life. He had such a drive in him,” said Swingle of Parkhill’s…Read More

Fraser-Clinton Township Chronicle: Local physical therapist honored by MDA

June 24, 2015

By: Nick Mordowanec


Polly Swingle has practiced physical therapy for 30 years, and now she is getting something in return for giving back.


The Muscular Dystrophy Association of Michigan recently selected her as the “Make a Muscle, Make a Difference” award recipient for 2015.


The award is presented annually to a community member who dedicates time, talent and expertise to improve the quality of life for those with muscular dystrophy. Other pro- fessionals in MDA clinics nominate someone as the award’s recipient.


Several people are nominated each year. The award…Read More

Detroit News: Recovery a Lifelong Project for Therapy Center Founder

May 15, 2015

By: Laurén Abdel-Razzaq


Charlie Parkhill talks with his hands. It’s remarkable, given that 17 years ago, an accident left him unable to move his body below his neck.


Parkhill was a CPA with his own business when, in 1998, he went on vacation with his wife to Mexico. While he was coming out of the water, a giant wave hit him and knocked him onto his head, bruising and partially severing his spinal cord.


The doctors told him physical therapy beyond the first year was a waste of time, that he…Read More

Macomb Daily: Aggressive neurological rehab born out of a catastrophic accident

April 6, 2015

By: Gina Joseph


There’s hope for a cure for paralysis.


Some American researchers believe epidural stimulation has the potential to be a quantum leap forward for the millions living with spinal cord injury (SCI). Whereas French researchers are confident in the ‘cyborg’ implant, a thin ribbon embedded with electrodes that lies along the spinal cord and delivers electrical impulses and drugs. For now there is The Recovery Project in Clinton Township and Livonia.


The high-intensity physical and occupational therapy clinic is for people with SCI, traumatic brain injuries, neuromuscular disorders such…Read More