Monday, June 03, 2013 US Sen Kirk Credits Physical Therapy in His Stroke Recovery A recent article in the National Stroke Association's StrokeSmart magazine interviewed Sen Mark Kirk about his recovery from a stroke a year and a half ago. APTA member Mike Klonowski, PT, DPT, PCS, is featured prominently in the article as Kirk’s main physical therapist at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, where Kirk spent nearly 11 weeks. In the article, Klonowski reiterated 2 messages that physical therapists often cite in advocating for adequate rehabilitation for patients who have had a stroke. First, that "'it's no time to lie down and take it easy.' He explains that the time right after a stroke is the best opportunity for the brain to heal more quickly and the body to respond at its best levels. Working in rehab with a greater frequency and intensity creates an optimal environment for plasticity." And second, that "the myth that many stroke survivors have heard—that you stop improving six months or a year after the stroke—it isn't true. 'You will still see changes,' says Klonowski. 'They won’t be as dramatic. You'll continue to achieve once you get into an environment where you're doing what's important to you. Put in the time and preparation at the beginning and you’ll continue to improve.'" Klonowski also recounted his appearance at the State of the Union Address on February 12 as Kirk's guest. APTA's PTNow clinician’s portal includes clinical guidelines on stroke (member login required), among other resources, and the association's consumer guide to stroke is available on our MoveForwardPT.com website.