Spinal Cord Injury: Jenna Ennesser's Story - Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago

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Jenna Ennesser's Story

Farmer, Age 24, Grand Rapids, MI

RIC patient Jenna EnnesserNewly married, Jenna and her husband were driving home in rural Michigan when their pick-up truck rolled over and she was ejected from the truck, breaking her back and injuring her spinal cord.

The always-active daughter of a farmer was used to hard physical work. She also was known to hunt, fish, show 4-H animals, and take care of animals, so she and her family were stricken by the injury.

“When I woke up from surgery, the doctors told my family that I would never walk or feel below the bellybutton again.” said Jenna. “I’ve been a rebel my whole life, so when someone says I can’t do something, that makes me try harder to prove them wrong.”

Jenna completed her initial rehabilitation in Michigan, but had to have a second surgery on her spine and chose to come to RIC for rehabilitation because of its #1 reputation.

“My experience as an inpatient on the 9th floor is a totally different
experience,” she said. “Therapists started to see some response in my legs and said there were things we could try to excite that movement. That hope instills a new motivation in you.”

Jenna participated in robotic walking therapy on the Lokomat, a robot with an exoskeleton that moves a person’s legs in a natural gait pattern. She continues therapy in hopes that she will get more and more return.

“RIC is great,” she said. “You come here to work hard, that’s what you need and that’s what they give you.”