Letter from Dr. Sadowsky:

Headshot of Dr. Cristina Sadowsky

Happy summer! I hope this finds you staying cool in the summer heat but still having the opportunity to enjoy summer activities and being outside. It’s especially nice to be able to see family and friends after restricting travel to reduce the spread of the coronavirus.

While things are opening up, please remember that the pandemic is not over. We encourage you to follow the advice of medical professionals, especially if you or those you live with have preexisting health conditions.

Additionally, as temperatures rise, extra caution is needed. Here are some tips to keep you healthy this summer:

  • Stay hydrated.
  • Limit your time outside on extremely hot days.
  • Stay cool by finding air-conditioned spaces if your home is not air-conditioned.
  • Wear a hat, sunglasses and light-colored clothing.
  • Wear sunscreen, and try to stay out of the sun during the hottest part of the day (10 a.m.–2 p.m.)

We’re excited to celebrate Team Kennedy Krieger’s 10th anniversary at this year’s Baltimore Running Festival. We will have both in-person and virtual options for participating. Don’t want to race? You can still participate in the event by being a supporter. Learn more in the article below.

As we begin holding more in-person appointments after being mostly virtual for the past 16 months, we look forward to seeing you and the other members of our ICSCI family. We are continuing to stay ahead in the neuro-rehabilitative field by utilizing advanced, neuroplastic interventions meant to restore lost function, like acute intermittent hypoxia and transcutaneous spinal stimulation.

Speaking of which, we’re excited to announce that the 2021 Dr. Gary Goldstein Research and Innovation Fund grant has been awarded to ICSCI occupational therapist and Manager of Clinical Training and Education Dr. Rebecca Martin for her proposal, "Transcutaneous Spinal Cord Stimulation in children with incomplete spinal cord injury: Safety, feasibility, and efficacy." The goal of this award is to support novel work that could lead to transformative research on developmental disorders.

Please stay safe and healthy. We look forward to seeing more of you in the upcoming months!

Cristina L. Sadowsky,
MD Clinical Director International Center for Spinal Cord Injury

Research at ICSCI:

A young woman works with liquids in glassware in a research lab.

Clinical research at the International Center for Spinal Cord Injury is a reflection of our motivation to continually improve the care that we provide to our patients. Through our research, we hope to advance the services we offer and discover new ways to help you reach your greatest potential. Some of the most recent work that we are doing in our research studies is in the field of transcutaneous spinal cord stimulation (TSCS).

TSCS is a promising, novel, noninvasive intervention to stimulate the spinal cord. Increasing the excitability of the spinal cord may be a key to expediting recovery. Recent evidence shows that combining our existing physical and occupational therapy interventions with TSCS yields greater improvements in some patients, as compared to therapy alone. A TSCS research study, conducted by a collaborative team from the ICSCI and The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, found that using TSCS with walking-based therapy improved walking in adults with incomplete spinal cord injuries. Specifically, the researchers observed a significant increase in gait speed, endurance and quality. Additionally, participants experienced a reduction in the need for physical assistance or the use of a less restrictive adaptive device or bracing option (e.g., going from a walker to crutches, or from braces to no braces).

The use of TSCS in combination with walking-based therapy was found to be effective and safe in a clinical setting with a clinically available device. The study was able to demonstrate that it is possible for individuals to experience additional change and progression if the TSCS training is prolonged.

Further research is needed to determine the most effective stimulation waveform, paradigm, and appropriate training dosing and duration, especially in the context of limited healthcare resources. To read the entire study published in the November 2020 journal Spinal Cord Series and Cases by Dr. Liza McHugh, Dr. Ashley Miller, Dr. Kristan Leech, Dr. Cynthia Salorio and Dr. Rebecca Martin, click here.

Currently, the ICSCI team leads a multi-center study to look at the impact of TSCS plus exercise on upper extremity functioning in adults with cervical injuries. This study involves a multi-electrode array and newly developed stimulator to more specifically target different movements of the arm and hand. This fall, ICSCI researchers will begin recruitment for a study to look at how TSCS impacts the ability to walk in children with spinal cord injuries. For more information about any of our ongoing research studies or to find out how to get involved, contact our research coordinator, Shannon Inches, at 443-923-9235.

Open For Business:

Personal Training

In July, for the first time since March of 2020, the ICSCI returned to full strength for on-site appointments at both of its locations: Baltimore and Maple Lawn. This expansion of appointments will enable us to see more patients, as staff members have returned to a full schedule. To make an appointment, please contact us at 888-923-9222. We look forward to seeing you!

We would like to remind you that we have expanded our personal training program to both Baltimore and Maple Lawn locations; able and differently able individuals are welcome to participate, as we have added a “caregiver” and “super-aging” track. For more information, contact Kevin Hentz at Hentz@KennedyKrieger.org.

Team Kennedy Krieger Celebrates 10 Years!

This year is a big one for Team Kennedy Krieger—our TENTH anniversary!

Team Kennedy Krieger at the Baltimore Running Festival.

We’re celebrating this milestone with our participation in the Baltimore Running Festival on October 9, 2021. Before making the decision to participate, we consulted with infection control and medical experts. As the health and safety of patients, families and staff members are always our top priorities, we weighed our decision carefully. The consensus of the medical community is that the air flow outside makes for a safe environment, especially when combined with social distancing or mask requirements. Thus, we are excited to announce that Team Kennedy Krieger WILL be participating in the 2021 Baltimore Running Festival. This will be a hybrid event, with options to participate in-person or virtually, which means increased opportunities for participants.

The funds raised by Team Kennedy Krieger through the Baltimore Running Festival will support our rehabilitation programs and assist in the purchase of new therapy equipment that, combined with intense, innovative therapies, will help yet more individuals with disorders and injuries of the brain and spinal cord. In addition, funds will support the training needs of patients with disabilities who participate in the event, through the funding of adaptive sports, scholarships, and participation in marathons across the country. Recreational activities are often overlooked for individuals with disabilities, but Kennedy Krieger recognizes the important benefits—including improved health, self-esteem, social connections and community reintegration—of exercise for its patients.

With this charity team, we aim to increase the number of Kennedy Krieger patients who are able to participate in the races each year and open the door to improved physical fitness for those with disabilities.

We hope you will join us as we celebrate “The Power of 10”! You may sign up to participate in person, to be a virtual racer or to be a supporter! To learn more about the Baltimore Running Festival or to register, click here.

Adaptive Sports Updates:

The Impossible Dream, a boat, on water.

Exciting news! Team Kennedy Krieger has started its very own official Facebook group, and we’d love to have you as a member! Through this platform, we’ll post about upcoming events and activities, personal experiences, grant opportunities, volunteer opportunities, news and updates. You’ll be able to interact with other members across the Team Kennedy Krieger community and support and encourage one another.

To join, simply search for “Team Kennedy Krieger Adaptive Sports” on Facebook. Request to join the group by answering the questions and acknowledging the group’s rules. Once you’re a member, you’ll be a part of our vibrant online community. We look forward to seeing you there!

This year is a big year for Team Kennedy Krieger, as it’s our TENTH anniversary! Join Team Kennedy Krieger in the Baltimore Running Festival and help us celebrate “The Power of 10” and all that we’ve accomplished over the last 10 years. Click here to learn more.

The Impossible Dream catamaran is currently making its way up the East Coast, and just recently made a few stops in Maryland. During a stop in Annapolis, we were able to send a patient and his family of four for a Saturday afternoon sail on the barrier-free catamaran.

During the catamaran’s stop in Baltimore, ICSCI staff members, patients and family members enjoyed an evening sail in the Inner Harbor. The Impossible Dream will return in the fall to finish out its 2021 summer voyage.

If you’re interested in adaptive paddling, save the date for another adaptive paddling event on Saturday August 28, 2021.

Interested in wheelchair lacrosse? Maryland Thunder practices began on Sunday, July 11, and are being held every Sunday at 11 a.m. through the fall at Alpha Ridge Park in Marriottsville, Maryland. No experience is required, and equipment can be provided if needed. This team won the last national championship, so this is a great opportunity to learn and play with the best in the country!

Please email AdaptiveSports@KennedyKrieger.org with any questions or for more information about any of these events, or about a specific program or opportunity.

Recent Staff Papers and Publications:


Cristina Sadowsky, MD presented “Activity as a Therapeutic Agent - Activity Based Restorative Therapies” at Sinai Hospital Grand Rounds in April 2021.

Cristina Sadowsky, MD presented “Pediatric Activity Based Restorative Therapies” at MedStar National Rehabilitation Network Grand Rounds in August 2021.


A multi-center paper, “Acute flaccid myelitis: long-term outcomes recorded in the CAPTURE study compared with paediatric transverse myelitis” by Albert Recio, MD, PT, and colleagues was published in BMJ Neurology Open in February 2021.

Quyen Catania, Marjorie Morgan, and Rebecca Martin published the paper “Trends in Pressure Injury Development in Patients with Lower Motor Neuron and Upper Motor Neuron Lesions: A Retrospective Descriptive Study” in Wound Management & Prevention in July 2021.

Book Chapters

Our team will be publishing the following chapters in Handbook of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, New York, Demos Medical Publishing, Gonzalez-Fernandez & Schaaf (editors):

1. Cabahug P, Choi J, Recio A, Sadowsky C. Neurogenic bladder.

2. Sadowsky C, Cabahug P, Recio A. Spinal cord injury-related bone loss and osteoporosis. Gonzalez-Fernandez & Schaaf (editors). Handbook of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, New York, Demos Medical Publishing, 2021, accepted January 2021

3. Cabahug P, Sadowsky C, Recio A. Neurogenic Bowel.

4. Recio A, Cabahug P, Sadowsky C. Spinal Cord Injury.

5. Michael E, Farrell E, Linden M, Cabahug P, Sadowsky C, Recio A. Complex Rehabilitation Technology for the Spinal Cord Injury Population.

Web-Based Events

Cristina Sadowsky, MD, and colleagues participated in the first episode, “FES 101,” of the podcast “Recovery Through Motion” in May 2021.


Albert Recio, MD, spearheaded the creation of the International Virtual Reality Sailing Simulator (VRSS) Consortium, which includes colleagues from Australia, Italy, Spain and the U.S. (including from North Carolina and Washington state, as well as from Maryland), and hosted the consortium’s 2021 symposium this past June. Also participating in the symposium were research coordinator Shannon Inches and physical therapist assistant Marjorie Morgan.

Your Support

Thank you to all who have participated in our fundraising efforts this year! We are incredibly grateful for your support. Your gifts help us maintain the best equipment and technology possible, conduct groundbreaking research, and support our patients and their families with items not covered by insurance. Visit KennedyKrieger.org/ICSCIFund to make a tax-deductible gift or learn more. Thank you!