Amanda Schwengel and Laura Miller

May 10, 2023


VIDEO: Interns aid quadriplegic man on his remarkable road to recovery

Exercise Science students at MSU Denver have helped Tyler Wesley defy the odds through physical therapy.

Amanda Schwengel and Laura Miller

May 10, 2023

Since he was 3 years old, Tyler Wesley dreamed of one day becoming a professional soccer player. But when he was a sophomore in high school, he was involved in a rollover car accident that changed the course of his life forever.

Over 10 years later, Wesley is a patient at NeuAbility, a rehabilitative wellness center in Denver, where he has been receiving treatment from Aranely Dominguez and Humberto Pallares, who are Exercise Science students at Metropolitan State University of Denver. As interns with NeuAbility, Dominguez and Pallares receive hands-on training in adaptive exercise and how it can improve the lives of patients with spinal-cord injuries such as Wesley.

“My internship with NeuAbility has really been an eye-opening experience,” Pallares said. “It really helps me get hands-on experience, and what I enjoy is getting to know the clients and seeing them progress, as well as seeing them continue to come and not give up.”

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Perseverance has been key for Wesley, who after being told he would never walk or talk again defied the odds by graduating from high school on time, attending college and regaining some function in his legs and upper extremities. His hard work in physical-therapy programs such as the one at NeuAbility has paid off, as he now can drive independently, works as a peer mentor and does community outreach for patients who are newly injured.

“I was hurt at a young age, 15, and I thought my life was over at the time, but … life still goes on,” Wesley said. “It’s pretty remarkable for those with an injury (like mine) to get back to independence and quality of life. It’s hope and inspiration, and a lot of people need that, especially today.”

Dominguez and Pallares credit the Classroom to Career Hub at MSU Denver for connecting them with the internship opportunity. Dominguez hopes to continue her physical-therapy education after graduating — she plans to pursue a master’s degree or apply to PT school.

“I just want to help the community in the health care rehab setting,” she said. “I want to be able to understand (patients’) backgrounds and where they’re coming from to provide better care for them.”

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