Community Spotlight: ShowMe Aquatics, St. Louis, Missouri


Community Spotlight showcases 'grass-roots' community programs and activities that are helping to promote healthy, active lifestyles for people with disabilities

Henry Moss working with Carolyn and Lisa at Aqua Abilities
An adult male participating in an aquatic exercise program. tried a water-based program of exercise
Many people can tell you about how healthful exercise has changed their lives, but few could match the dramatic benefits Henry Moss experienced. The St. Louis resident had always been a healthy, active man and at 61 years of age still enjoyed playing tennis and practicing martial arts on a regular basis. Then, on a Friday in 1999, everything suddenly changed. With no prior symptoms, Henry suffered a severe stroke that affected the pons area of his brain stem. Following the stroke, Henry lost virtually all voluntary muscle movement, being able to move only his eyes -- a rare form of paralysis known as 'locked-in syndrome'. For the next few years, Henry and his family worked through rehabilitation programs trying to regain some movement, but the progress was extremely slow and often discouraging. Then, in 2002, Henry tried a water-based program of exercise, and his life changed again. This time it was for the better.

In the support and buoyancy of the water, Henry found he was able to begin to move again. After just a few months of working in the water, he found he was regaining control of his body. Soon he was able to stand alone in the pool. As his leg movement increased, he began to float on his back and kick. His arm movements increased as well, and he could bring his hands to his chin. The improvement carried over to his life out of the water. Now, on land he can stand alone using a walker and his speech is steadily improving.

Almost as amazing as the progress Henry Moss has made is where he goes to make this progress. It's not a world famous rehabilitation hospital or clinic. It's a family YMCA in St. Charles County, just outside of St. Louis, Missouri. Henry found the Aqua Abilities Program run by ShowMe Aquatics.

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