Fertig (far left) joins other disability advocates to fight for the rights of wheelchair users at United Spinal’s Roll on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC.

Bill Fertig (far left) joins other disability advocates to fight for the rights of wheelchair users at United Spinal’s Roll on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC.

United Spinal Association is identifying barriers to appropriate rehabilitation services that provide greater personal independence and improved quality of life for individuals living with spinal cord injuries and other conditions and disorders.

“The first few months after spinal cord injury is a critical period in terms of rehabilitation. It’s important that people have access to condition-specific education and physical rehabilitation strategies, so they can effectively transition back into their work, school and family lives,” said Bill Fertig, manager of United Spinal’s Resource Center.

“That’s one of the greatest misconceptions of spinal cord injury, that people can no longer do the things they used to or pursue the same goals because they now use a wheelchair. But that’s just not true. With the right support, anything is possible. Our members prove that every day,” added Fertig.

Bill Fertig, manager of United Spinal’s Resource Center enjoying quality time with his grandson.

Fertig, manager of United Spinal’s Resource Center, enjoying quality time with his grandson.

United Spinal Information Specialists, who field approximately 5,000 inquiries annually from wheelchair users, their family members, case managers and other medical professionals, are continually contacted by individuals who are denied appropriate rehab, resulting in barriers to greater independence. This information will be utilized to strengthen regional and national advocacy efforts to bring greater awareness on the critical role rehabilitation plays in patient outcomes.

“Ultimately, our goal is to keep people out of nursing homes, disconnected from their communities and any opportunity to live on their own terms,” said Fertig.

September, National Spinal Cord Injury Awareness Month, offers United Spinal the opportunity to raise public awareness of life’s possibilities with spinal cord injury after rehabilitation. With over 50 chapters and 200 support groups nationwide, many of the organization’s members are living active and independent lives due to appropriate rehabilitation and a strong support base.

For more information on United Spinal’s Resource Center or receiving spinal cord injury assistance, visit http://unitedspinal.org/spinal-cord-injury-resources/.