Ability Fitness Expands Potential, Floor Space

On Tuesday, April 10, Ability Fitness Center will cut the ribbon on its new, bigger space at Paxton Campus.

Helen Parker, Ability Fitness Center’s clinical director and neurological physical therapist, said the center gives people with neurological injuries something they can’t get elsewhere: long-term, intensive care.

“Most people that have some kind of neurological injury are not able to use regular old equipment at a gym, and the equipment they need is also so expensive they can’t afford to have it in their house, either,” Parker said.

But the Ability Fitness Center, which opened in a smaller space on the campus last year, gives them a place to keep exercising and healing.

Parker said she has one client who was rendered paraplegic by a spinal injury and discharged from therapy for a lack of progress.

“That is unfortunately the way the insurance world is set up,” Parker said. “If progress is slow, which often it is, you can’t justify continuing to stay in therapy.”

Now, he comes to Ability Fitness Center four days a week and has made “unbelievable progress.” He has gone from using his head to control his motorized wheelchair, to using his hand, and is working on standing and walking.

“He comes here probably 20 hours a week and is getting intense intervention, which is what oftentimes our nervous system actually needs to make some changes,” Parker said.

The center also provides a social atmosphere for people who sometimes can’t get out of the house any more. It’s also a rarity—Parker said people come from an hour away to exercise.

She has been a therapist working with neurologic patients for 21 years, and says it’s her passion.

“It drove me crazy that I had to discharge people because of insurance, when I knew they had potential,” Parker said. “I’d never been able to get someone to where really their body could potentially get, because insurance runs out.”

Now, in a larger space and with room to grow, Ability Fitness Center helps people achieve their potential.

Ability Fitness Center will host a ribbon cutting on their new facility Tuesday, April 10 at 5 p.m. Leesburg Mayor Kelly Burk and members of the Town Council are expected to attend. Ability Fitness Center is at the Arc of Loudoun at Paxton Campus at 601 Catoctin Circle NE in Leesburg.

Dr. Helen Parker works with Wayne Malick on the tread mill for range of motion at the Ability Fitness Center in Leesburg. [Douglas Graham/Loudoun Now]

New Ability Fitness Center Serves Loudoun’s Physically Challenged

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