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Shreveport nonprofit aims to open spinal cord injury rehab center

Scott Wells1.JPG
Kate Archer Kent

A Bossier City man is raising funds to help people recover from spinal cord injuries, one hand revolution at a time. Scott Wells will set out Wednesday, May 1, from Delta, La., to handcycle across most of the northern part of the state in his quest to create Louisiana's first one-stop neurological rehabilitation facility to be located in Shreveport-Bossier.

Wells was paralyzed 14 years ago following a car accident. He formed a nonprofit, Independence Regained, nearly three years ago. During a recent training workout at LSU Health Shreveport’s Rehabilitation Clinic, he said his nonprofit is just a few years away from securing the funds to open a 10-bed inpatient rehabilitation center where paralyzed people relearn life skills.

“I just stay focused on my mission," Wells said, while working out on an upper body ergometer. "I remember all the phone calls from all the people who asked where they could get this type of rehab, knowing that the only places they could go if they have insurance is out-of-state. No one should have to leave the state to get the services they need."

Physical therapist Amanda Mahoney is his ally on this 180-mile handcycle. She guides Wells through his training regimen and will even cycle with him on the final leg between Minden and Bossier City.

"We’ve been working on strength, flexibility and endurance to make sure he can get through this long ride over the next week," Mahoney said.

Wells hopes to raise $50,000 from this handcycle, now in its second year. He is encouraging others to join him on the Cycling for Independence ride. He’ll have a homecoming ceremony at the Airline High School Football Stadium at 11:30 a.m. on Saturday, May 4.