Thursday, February 14, 2013 Klonowski Calls SOTU a 'Unique Experience' "It was an honor and a privilege," Mike Klonowski, PT, DPT, PCS, said Wednesday morning reflecting on his attendance at the State of the Union (SOTU) address Tuesday night. Klonowski attended the SOTU address as an invited guest of Sen Mark Kirk (R-IL). He was the senator's primary physical therapist at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago following a stroke in January 2012 that paralyzed the left side of Kirk's body. Being among so many of the nation's leaders—those on the floor of the House of Representatives and in the House gallery—was a "unique experience," Klonowski said. Certain parts of the address were well received by all attendees. In particular, the audience came together to cheer the president's call for advancements in education, particularly in science and math. "We have seen how clinical research can improve care and patient outcomes on RIC’s new recovery unit and AbilityLab, where Sen Kirk was treated. Embracing science and innovation is how we lead the world into the future," said Klonowski. Before the address, Klonowski visited with Kirk in his office. "He's not shying away from his stroke recovery," said Klonowski, noting the odds the senator has overcome and how his spirit and drive have allowed him to return to a high level of function. "He's more and more like himself." "All the hard work Mark did in rehab is paying off," Klonowski said. "He returned to work better prepared [to take on his role in the Senate]."