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Thread: Can you swim?

  1. #11
    I'm T-4 also, The first time I went swimming after my accident, I had 3 friends with me. I had no Idea what my body would do and I thought I was going to drownd. It was wierd: My lower body wanted to float at one point, pulling my head down; and then my lower body wanted to sink like a rock; and my spasms kicked in hard. The only thing I could think to do was to use my arms and tread real hard! My arms aren't the strongest but they worked. Doing this, I started to test my body with
    different motions. It took a lot of arm strength to control my lower body and to push the water in certain directions to keep afloat. I learned how to go face down in the water then bring myself back to a perpendicular position (this is the hardest move). I learned to float on my back then right myself again. Then I started switching from front to back and vise versis. Then start swimming the crawl. It takes work coordinating my breath with my stroke and combating limited range of motion in my shoulders, and also combating body spasms. The spasms are worst
    when I first get in. It takes Several laps before they lessen. (They never really go away for me.) So It can be done, but it definately takes help from good freinds and
    and lots of practice. I think one of the things that helped me also, was that I had it in my head what it felt like to swimm before. So I knew I had it in me somewhere and was deterined to get it back. I hope this helps and that your able to get back in the water.

    Almost forgot: I can't handle the cold water for very long either. I can get in about 7 laps (up and Back is one lap) before I get so cold I start to turn blue (usually about 30 minutes). Then it's time to get out of the water.
    Last edited by ButterflyMom; 09-09-2011 at 03:05 AM. Reason: add something I forgot

  2. #12
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Florida, USA
    Quote Originally Posted by Imight View Post
    The thing is, I tried, but I sank every time. Good to know it's possible tho. Did you just use your arms? back stroke? or regular swim without leg movement? Maybe my technique just needs refining.......
    If you lay on your back after taking a deep breath and holding it in, you should be able to float. You can then use your arms to control movement and allow shallow breathing while still floating. It takes a little practice, but basically floating in water is a matter of having a lot of air in your lungs.
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  3. #13
    Senior Member lynnifer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Windsor ON Canada
    I know you're not completely paralyzed so it might not work and it's been a while for me ... but waaaay back in the dinosaur age of rehab, they taught me to tie my legs together at the ankles and use my trunk as much as I could, using the lower body as a 'fin'. They said I swam like a dolphin .. lol.

    I found it easier (for controlling the buoyancy of my legs) to go backwards.
    Roses are red. Tacos are enjoyable. Don't blame immigrants, because you're unemployable.

    T-11 Flaccid Paraplegic due to TM July 1985 @ age 12

  4. #14
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    Melbourne, FL USA
    When surfing at Sebastian inlet people would walk out on the jetty and toss their boards in and dive in after them this way you don’t have to paddle out past the break.

    Floated up slowly to the surface and I was kind of ‘numb’ and seeing stars but thought I would just roll over and swim for shore. That didn’t work (no triceps) and was my first indication to pay attention, I needed to take a breath soon.

    Grew up in Southern Calif on the swim team, could swim before I could walk and started SCUBA diving after my injury, was not concerned at all.

    Since I could feel the swells going by me I raised an elbow and a swell rolled me over on my back. Then I thought to catch my breath, roll over and swim for shore this time, still didn’t work

    Had sand in my hair till my first shower with an aide eight weeks later (I had tongs & weights in a rotating bed for 7 weeks) in rehab which lasted months after discharge.

    But to answer the question to get my SCUBA diving license I had to tow someone in the ocean for so many (don’t remember) yards.

    I did get my triceps back, though no wrists so my hands are fists, but yes I still swim well but since I have no body fat, I sink when I exhale. The wetsuit gives me extra buoyancy for diving and I put an 8 oz sinker tied around my feet so don’t float upside down.

  5. #15
    Many people with injuries as high as C5 swim. It is very helpful if you can work with someone who is certified in adaptive swimming and aquatics. We have a recreation therapist who is certified, and she works with our clients (not PT). Her first goal is to get the client "water safe", which is working on floating and getting yourself turned from a face-down to a face-up position in the water. Initially we often use floatation devices (which are a good thing for everyone to wear when boating, AB or PWD).

    The local MS Society chapter is often a good resource for finding a good instructor, since they often run swim programs for their members and swimming is highly recommended to people with MS due to problems they have with exercise and overheating. We also have many local colleges and universities with adaptive exercise training programs, and they either can provide this service directly or assist you in finding the right program or instructor.


  6. #16
    cris, i couldn't tell from your post, did you have your sci while surfing at sebastian inlet? the florida sci newsletter reported that there was a 'life rolls on' adaptive surfing session in jacksonville this past june. did you go? if they ever come to sebastian, i'd love to try it--haven't been in the ocean in about 15 years, i miss it very much.

    to everyone else- keep trying to find a therapist to help you find a way to swim, it's worth it when you figure out what works for you.
    i'm c5 incomplete and exercise in a pool every day that i can.
    i agree with the earlier post about water temperature. if it's too cool,
    not only will you spasm like crazy, but you'll be chilled for hours afterward.
    in winter i wear a neoprene diver's cap, light nylon wetsuit and water shoes to walk in the pool, i look like the creature from the black lagoon, but so what? the rest of year i always wear a rashguard shirt,a hat and water shoes to conserve body heat, even when the air temps are hot.
    even though there's some extra effort required to get in the water, if conditions are right, it is such an invigorating and pleasant change from being in a chair or bed, and the water resistance helps with circulation, edema, and makes you feel as though you had a massage afterward.
    your breathing is deeper, it feels good, it's wonderful!
    Last edited by Crashbang; 09-09-2011 at 09:55 AM.

  7. #17
    since when did floating on your back = swimming? i'm a C-7 and can swim easily, on top of and underwater. here's the trick: you have to move your arms!!! lol

    only requires a tiny bit of arm muscle to be able to stay afloat on your back by propelling yourself. forget about this back-floating business.

  8. #18
    I don't have any problems swimming, I even use my legs. But I swim breast stroke, strange name, because that is the way we learn to swim here. I can swim on my back too.
    TH 12, 43 years post

  9. #19
    I had to practice a lot, so I could relax enough to float. I swim like I walk-badly, non-functionally. It would help if I didn't have a claw for a rt hand. I can sit-ski w/ life jacket, scuba dive w/ bc vest. Swim in a gym w/ goggles and snorkel, you'll get it.

    If you ever want to scuba (insert black joke-I have met exactly 1 black couple, ever, diving!) you have to get over the fear.

  10. #20
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    Melbourne, FL USA
    Registered for my senior year, drove to my parents and idled down to the beach picking up 3 foot soldiers on the way to the beach at the end of the street next Saturday morning.

    They told me it was the ’82 Stubbies contest at the inlet so we cruised south about 10 am. There really wasn’t any break.

    Thought about surfing from a kayak but with no trunk muscles or grip don’t think I could flip myself back upright. Will never get on a board again, just thinking about trying to do a bottom turn and eating shit, can’t be done by me.

    water skiing which is a blast and would recommend it to anyone, it’s like wake surfing. Remember the instructor telling me my first time that I was the only person who ate pie going forward, everyone’s always went backwards.

    At 3pm it rained so we decided to leave. I drove a ’66 Chevy with no a/c so we decided to get wet before we left.

    Tide had gone out, to steep of an angle and low point of the swell. Some guy next to me put his arm on my chest and dove first throwing off my timing. Three seconds later life changed.

    If I try and swim on my face, my hips and legs sink, everything but my lungs, and when I exhale and my arms are over my head I sink. Its dragging my body through water with no hands, it does not work for me. 32 laps or 64 lengths was 1 mile warm-up then you did 25m sprints, I’ll never swim on my face (especially with a wetsuit and BC on) again.

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