Ohio State Year in Review 2016: BTN LiveBIG
A buckeye is a tough and tannic seed, a plentiful reminder of the early, hardscrabble days of the Ohio frontier. The buckeye made a keen demonym for the early settlers of the state. So it was only fitting then that when The Ohio State University was looking for a nickname and mascot, they needed look no further than the branches of their beloved state tree.
But the buckeye seed’s firm hide and bitter nature belies a spirit of warmth and giving that permeates the campus, the people, and the work of The Ohio State University. Our 2016 Ohio State LiveBIG vignettes are a testament to that spirit, featuring stories of triumph against the odds and the power of people to lift each other to new heights.
Join us as we look back on a year that was certainly B1G for the Buckeyes.
“I remember thinking, Man, I wish I could just push a wheelchair,” he added. “It wasn’t about walking, it wasn’t anything else, I just wanted to be able to at least use a chair. The first month of dealing with that was just depression.”
Fortunately for Burns, he received treatment at Ohio State’s Wexner Medical Center. It was there that he encountered Lise Worthen-Chaudhari, research assistant professor in physical medicine and rehabilitation, shortly after his accident.
Worthen-Chaudhari had recently created an experimental form of physical therapy that involved using basic motions of recovering patients to create digital pictures. The idea of using art as a means for physical rehabilitation came from her observation that existing exercises were not only difficult, but also not all that stimulating.
“Just after finishing my freshman year of college, I took a mistimed dive in the ocean and I immediately knew something was wrong,” says Burkhart. “I was diagnosed quadriplegic.”
That accident left Burkhart with slight use of his arms, but no control over the fine motor movements of the hand. Coincidentally, it was around the same time that Rezai and his colleagues at Wexner and the Battelle Memorial Institute were pondering how they could improve the quality of life for those affected by spinal cord injuries.
The answer to that lies in the desire of Ohio State’s synchronized swimming team wanting to make a difference outside of the pool. In their quest to give back to their community, they were introduced to Team IMPACT, an organization that gives children facing life-threatening and chronic illnesses strength and hope through the power of team.
Verena suffers from “Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome,” which means her joints dislocate, her tissue is more fragile, and her organs can rupture. One advantage of her pairing with the OSU synchronized swimming team is that being in the water is the best therapy for her.
When it comes to expanding people’s means of communication, The Bard’s works are a gift that keeps on giving. A great example of that is a program developed at The Ohio State University to help kids with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) improve their speech and facial expressions by engaging with “The Tempest.”
The initiative, which unites the thespian talents of OSU’s Department of Theatre with the developmental disabilities expertise of the Nisonger Center, involves interaction between stage actors and children with autism. The former lead acting exercises that allow the latter to open up their emotions and expressions.