UHN News followed up with spinal cord rehab patient Alex Dritsas after his story aired on the CBC series Keeping Canada Alive on Oct. 4. (Video: UHN)

​In March 2015, Alex Dritsas took to the ice for a recreational hockey game.

Alex was goaltending when a collision occurred in front of the net that resulted in a player falling on top of him, landing on his neck.

The accident left the 28 year-old Canadian Forces reservist paralyzed from the neck down.

Having undergone emergency surgery, Alex was admitted to Toronto Rehab's Spinal Cord Rehab program in April.

"Until I got here every single person believed I would never walk again," Alex says. "Then literally on day one Jamie (physiotherapist) stood me up with my brother and they got me on my feet for the first time in over a month."​

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Alex underwent respiratory therapy, occupational therapy, recreational therapy, and physiotherapy at Toronto Rehab's Lyndhurst Centre.

In August, Alex returned home and is back living with his twin brother, Andre.

"Today I'm walking, doing stairs. I use walking aids as more of a safety net or a seat if I need it," he says.

"To see Alex doing the stairs as well as he does it's really heartwarming and gratifying as a physiotherapist," says Jamie Young, physiotherapist, Spinal Cord Rehab program.

Image of Alex playing ball hockey
Alex, a Canadian Forces reservist, playing ball hockey in Kandahar in 2010.
​ (Photo: Alex Dritsas)

Alex is now an outpatient in the Spinal Cord Rehab program and is working towards getting back on the ice. He has also returned to work as a realtor.

"Thirty-one days. That's how long it took me to stand up on my own feet," says Alex. "And ever since that day I just never looked back."

Keeping Canada Alive

Alex's story was part of a CBC documentary series: Keeping Canada Alive. The series follows several healthcare providers and patients from across Canada on a single day to provide viewers with a snapshot of the Canadian healthcare system.

For a look into Alex's journey through rehab, click here.  ​

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