On Thursday, Sen Mark Kirk (R-IL) returned to Capitol Hill
for the first time since having a stroke in January 2012 that paralyzed the
left side of his body. Kirk climbed the steps to the Capitol using a 4-prong
cane and assisted by Vice President Joe Biden and Sen Joe Manchin (D-WV) while
his colleagues in the 113th Congress cheered.
Kirk was scheduled to hold a press conference Thursday with physicians and
researchers from the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago and Northwestern
Memorial Hospital to discuss the treatment he underwent.
APTA member Michael Klonowski, PT, DPT, PCS, who
was Kirk's primary physical therapist in Chicago, told USA
that he was "more emotional" than he thought he would be as he watched
his former patient make the climb.
"Seeing what he's done
is absolutely inspiring," Klonowski said. "I've seen him go up tons
of stairs. ... It was really something to see him do what he did today."
In an interview published Wednesday in the Chicago Sun-Times Kirk said that his experience with the
health care system has given him a new perspective. He said that he plans to
take a look at the Illinois Medicaid program, which he noted allows 11 rehab
visits for patients with stroke.
"Had I been limited to that, I would have
had no chance to recover like I did," Kirk said. "So unlike before
suffering the stroke, I’m much more focused on Medicaid and what my fellow
Watch this NBC video of Kirk's "45
monumental steps." To view photos of Kirk in rehabilitation, visit the Huffington Post.