Join The Team! Paid Position Available

Founded in 2009, Texas Rowing For All's (“TRFA's”) is an award-winning non-profit whose mission is to provide paddling and rowing activities for people with physical, sensory, and intellectual disabilities. Our primary focus is the Austin community and surrounding populations. Our primary venue is beautiful Lady Bird Lake. TRFA provides a variety of rowing programs, including programs for Wounded Warriors, students at the Texas School for the Deaf, students from the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired, and students with special needs from Austin High School. Our organizational goal is to provide a caring, team-based environment where everyone can excel and enjoy the sports of rowing, kayaking, and canoeing. TRFA seeks to hire a part-time Director of Programs and Administration who will be responsible for overseeing existing programs and expanding the participation and visibility of TRFA programs within the community. The Director will directly interact with principles and stakeholders within the community, as well as oversee the weekly program/coaching schedule in an administrative role. The Director will report to the TRFA Board on a monthly basis.

Director of Programs and Administration

 Texas Rowing for All

Hours: Part-time

Salary:  $800 per Month

Click here to download the job description.

Robotic suit helps spinal cord injury patients walk

AUSTIN -- Research into spinal cord injuries can include stem cells, prosthetic implants and even synthetic biology that bridges damaged areas. 

One Central Texas healthcare facility is offering a non-invasive clinical trial that poses very low risk to spinal cord patients. 

Four years after a spinal cord injury left him a paraplegic, 25-year-old Joe Fischer has learned just about every wheelchair trick, so he decided to take the next step.

It's called the ReWalk rehabilitation system. St. David's Rehabilitation Hospital is the first facility in Central Texas to get it. The motor-driven, robotic device weighs 44 pounds and allows patients to walk by detecting shifts within their sense of balance and then moving their legs in a natural gait. 

I call it Robo Joe, said Fischer.

Robo Joe Fischer can laugh now. Four years ago, pain replaced laughter. He wasn't wearing a harness when he fell 25 feet from a deer blind in his home state of Missouri. 

My original thought was, 'This really hurts, but, like everything else, I'm just going to roll over and get up, and I'm going to walk it off.' I went to roll over, and I realized my back was broken, Fischer said.

Shortly after the accident, Fischer relocated to Austin and became a regular at St. David's Rehab Hospital.

The big thing with Joe's injury is the trunk control is key, said Bob Rambusek, the senior physical therapist at St. David's Rehabilitation Hospital. You can only challenge him so much in the sitting position. 

Sit in a chair for 12 hours today and don't move, and tell me how it feels, said Fischer.

The ReWalk device helps strengthen his arms and legs, allowing muscles that had once atrophied to get stronger. And that's not the only benefit.

When you are stimulating muscles and bones and areas of the body that were not able to be stimulated before, you can stimulate some of the nerve pathways that can provide some improvement, said Juan Latorre, M.D., the medical director of the Spinal Cord Injury and Amputee Program at St. David's Rehabilitation Hospital and affiliate member of NeuroTexas Institute.

Fischer and his therapists say at times, it's almost hard to believe this futuristic technology exists.

These are not goals that we had for spinal cord injuries just a couple of months ago, said Rambusek. This was in the research and development lab just two years ago, so now we're actually putting it into practice. 

It feels pretty cool to stand up and kiss my girlfriend, said Fischer. It feels pretty cool to walk by my wheelchair. You know, it's just kind of an out of this world feeling. 

Europe has approved the device for personal use, but the FDA still requires it to be used only in clinics trials in the United States.

Joe Fischer

As Interviewed by East Hoelscher, on March 12, 2014

"Where there's a will there's a way."

Introductory Profile: About Joe Fischer

Joe Fischer, now 25, was injured 4 years ago after a 20 foot fall from a rickety old deer stand. Paralyzed from the waist down, Joe has been in a wheelchair ever since. Despite his disability, he’s not your average Joe. He’s an athlete, a coach, and a mentor to many. Joe believes that the laws assisting those with disabilities have helped improve his quality of life. His goal is to help others better relate to those with disabilities and show that there are more similarities than differences.

Despite his disability, Joe is still very independent (driving, shopping, etc.). He even plays on a wheelchair basketball team in the National Wheelchair Basketball Association League. He is very fun loving and enjoys teaching kids. Shortly after his injury, Joe started working for the YMCA. He now teaches a Paralympic Experience class where non-disabled kids have a chance to play sports in wheelchairs. 

During my interview, I realized that Joe was very open and kind. I could tell by his enthusiasm how much teaching his class means to him. Joe’s positive outlook on life was very inspiring. The entire interview was very conversational and fun.

I am glad to know that Joe believes people with disabilities are treated with respect. I also really admire that he takes action for what he feels is right. Joe’s story truly shows that you can make the best out of any situation if you try hard enough. In his class, he teaches everyone that even though he may get around differently, he is still a perfectly normal person.