BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The Kennedy Krieger Institute is providing hope for patients with spinal cord injuries, through new experiences and activities.

In January, Van Brooks skied for the first time.

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“It was one of the best things ever, it was an adrenaline rush that I haven’t experienced since my football days so it was incredible,” Brooks, a Kennedy Krieger patient, said.

After suffering a spinal cord injury while playing football during his junior year in high school in 2004, Brooks started treatment at the International Center for Spinal Cord Injury at Kennedy Krieger Institute.

“Personally I’ve gained a lot back, I wasn’t able to sit up when I began, now I am able to take steps alone, that with the technology and doctors and therapists the spinal cord center has definitely changed my life,” Brooks said.

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A patient for nearly 15 years, Brooks is a huge inspiration to other patients and staff.

“The definition of not letting his injuries stop him, or get in his way, he’s the definition of proving you can do anything you set your mind to, he’s an inspiration to all of us,” said Erin Michael, with the Kennedy Krieger Advocacy and Special Programs.

The nonprofit focuses on what’s possible. The recent trip to Aspen, Colorado gave patients the opportunity to experience the slopes with an adaptive ski device.

“I want to share that life continues to go on, the best way to do that is to be an example and I believe in setting an example in action and not words,” Brooks said.

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