Ritchie Cunningham

To call Ritchie Cunningham active might understate just how much he did each day. Ritchie is a father of three and a grandfather of seven — that alone is enough to keep someone busy! But on top of that, Ritchie put in between 40-60 hours of work each week between his job with a construction company and his side business.

One part of Ritchie’s work routine involved driving a boom truck between railroad stations in New York. While working under a bridge overpass, Ritchie was involved in an accident and sustained significant injuries, including multiple fractures and a spinal cord injury. He experienced immediate back pain and loss of function in his extremities.

An ambulance transported Ritchie to Erie County Medical Center for evaluation and treatment. After surgery to repair his injuries, Ritchie stabilized and began working with physical therapy and occupational therapy. At this point, his doctors recommended that Ritchie transfer to an acute rehabilitation hospital to continue his progress toward regaining his function.

A friend recommended Gateway Rehabilitation Hospital to him. Ritchie had also heard good things about Gateway, and determined that’s where he would continue his recovery from spinal cord injury. “I went with Gateway, and I don’t regret it,” he said. “I’d recommend it to anybody.”

An airplane medical transport flew Ritchie to northern Kentucky, and he admitted to Gateway to begin the next phase of his recovery. When he arrived at Gateway, Ritchie could hardly get around or walk. But Ritchie was no stranger to hard work, and by the time he discharged from the inpatient rehab program at Gateway, Ritchie had made considerable gains. He can now stand and walk on his own without the use of a walker.

Ritchie found motivation in thinking about his family, as well as in the encouragement from the therapists who pushed him each day. “All the staff at Gateway are excellent,” he stated, giving special credit to Kerri (PTA), Olivia (OT), and the nursing staff for their impact on his progress. “I came into Gateway, and I couldn’t walk. And I came out walking!”

Ritchie is excited to return to his family and hopes to return to work very soon!