Ms. Natasha Schuh Named 2012 American Rehabilitation Champion

Nov 08, 2012, 09:00 ET from Foundation for Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation

ROSEMONT, Ill., Nov. 8, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- At age 16, Ms. Natascha Schuh of Ellsworth, WI took her last step backward, falling through a trap door on her high school auditorium stage.  She sustained a cervical spinal cord injury (SCI) that left her paralyzed.  Like most teenagers in a similar situation, her initial reaction was: "I don't want this to be my life!"

Physiatrist Dr. Mark Christopherson (Mayo Clinic) nominated Ms. Schuh for the Foundation for Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation's 2012 American Rehabilitation Champion Award. The Award recognizes an individual's courage, determination and perseverance in overcoming disability with the help of a physiatrist.  

With the help of her rehabilitation team at the Mayo Clinic, Ms. Schuh graduated high school and earned two baccalaureate degrees. Now 31 years old, she lives independently, works and travels as a motivational speaker, and serves as a peer mentor to individuals with new SCI.  She also helped develop patient education materials on emergency preparedness, relationships and sexuality after SCI, and serves as a patient advocate on her hospital's Community Advisory Council.  She was selected as winner in the Miss Wheelchair USA 2012 pageant and recently finished writing a book, "My Last Step Backward."  Her comment these days: "I feel like this has made me the person I want to be." 

The Foundation for PM&R created this award to raise awareness of the difference between "recovery" and "rehabilitation", and the vital role that physiatrists play during the rehabilitation process. (Physiatrists are medical specialists in the field of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.  They strive to restore health, improve function, reduce pain and enhance quality of life for individuals with disability.)

The 2012 American Rehabilitation Champion Award will be presented to Ms. Natasha Schuh on Saturday, November 17 at 9:30 AM in Ballroom D of the Marriott Marquis Hotel in Atlanta.  The awards ceremony is held in conjunction with the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Annual Assembly, the largest continuing medical education (CME) event for physiatrists in North America. 

About the Foundation for Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
More than 90% of Americans will suffer functional disability due to illness or injury at some point in their lives.
The Foundation for Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation (FPM&R) is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to enhancing health, function and quality of life for individuals with disability through research and education in the field of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation (also called Physiatry or PM&R).  Each year, the FPM&R provides over $100,000 to physiatric researchers who are conducting studies to determine which therapies provide the best outcomes at the lowest cost.  Nearly all of the support for these grants is derived from tax-deductible individual contributions. For a complete media kit about the Foundation, more information about Ms. Schuh, or to set up an interview appointment, contact Phyllis Anderson at (847) 737-6062 or or visit the Foundation's website at:

SOURCE Foundation for Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation