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Working 2 Walk Science & Advocacy Symposium

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"Acute Intermittent Hypoxia: A Scientific and Personal Odyssey" - Tommy Sutor, MS, CSCS | PhD Candidate in Rehabilitative Science, University of Florida

Tommy Sutor did not find the movement to cure spinal cord injuries, but rather, it found him. Having originally thought he wanted to pursue a career as a strength and conditioning or track and field coach, Tommy took a job as an activity-based exercise trainer and was thrust into the movement to cure spinal cord injury. Fascinated by both the science and the realities of everyday life for people with spinal cord injuries, he knew he wanted to play some part in this movement, but didn’t see how since he was not a doctor nor someone who knew how to do animal or cellular experiments. Eventually, Tommy realized that much of his knowledge about how to train athletes overlapped with neurorehabilitation. Additionally, it served as a good foundation of knowledge to seek answers to unanswered questions. He decided to pursue a PhD in rehabilitation science so that he could investigate ways to enhance motor function in people with chronic spinal cord injury, while at the same time getting a better understanding of basic research and what it will ultimately take to heal an injured spinal cord.

Tommy is currently studying acute intermittent hypoxia and its uses for enhancing rehabilitation after spinal cord injury. He will be discussing the history of acute intermittent hypoxia, current and ongoing research from the University of Florida (including preliminary findings from his own dissertation), and future directions for acute intermittent hypoxia as a way to enhance rehabilitation and motor function after chronic spinal cord injury.

Tommy is part of a team of clinicians and researchers at Brooks Rehabilitation and the University of Florida that are studying if itermittent hypoxia can increase strength and improve breathing, sitting, or standing function after spinal cord injury. Click here to download the flyer for more information.

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