1500 – Balance for MS, TBI, Orthopedic Trauma

Beginner / 3-hour Workshop


Faculty: Mary Wykle, PhD, ATRIC



Multiple Sclerosis, Traumatic Brain Injury, and Orthopedic Trauma are very different, yet face many of the same challenges. Balance deficits, fatigue, cognitive impairment, depression, and loss of strength are inherent in all. All need specialized physical training. 


Multiple Sclerosis is a chronic progressive nervous disorder resulting in life altering challenges. MS patients benefit from gentle, repetitive movement. Their ability to tolerate activity varies greatly.  Balance activities should be selected to provide body alignment awareness, range of motion, gentle strengthening, and improved endurance in a supportive setting.


Traumatic Brain Injuries are in the forefront of medical identification, treatment, and research. The number of young military veterans diagnosed with TBI has grown exponentially in the past few years.  Recent research on professional athletes, particularly football players, who have experienced repeated concussions are having the same challenges as they age. They have the need for balance, cognitive training, and challenge with coordination and aerobic activity. This same group often has been challenged with recovery from Orthopedic Trauma so progressive aquatic therapy provides a safe arena for reduced fear of falling, challenge activities, and progression therapy to increase muscle strength and imbalance.



1.     Examine complications experienced by MS, TBI, and Orthopedic Trauma patients and the role of therapy- based training.

2.     Demonstrate basic exercises in the water based on yoga and similar protocols.

3.     Determine achievable outcome goals and adapt balance positions to meet each individual’s needs.

4.     Explore ways to use yoga, Ai Chi, and Ai Chi Ne to provide a supportive environment.

5.     Identify small steps to show progress in Activities of Daily Living.


FACULTY: Mary O. Wykle, PhD, ATRIC, is a professor of physical education at Northern Virginia Community College. She holds multiple certifications in aquatics and fitness. Her company, MW Associates, offers consulting workshops in health and aquatics. Mary is a long-time faculty member and serves on varied committees for ATRI.  She is a regular presenter for the Aquatic Exercise Association/IAFC. Mary is Committee Chair for Aquatic Therapy Practitioner of NCCARD (The National Commission for the Credentialing of Aquatic Rehabilitation Disciplines). She is the author of Risk Awareness and Safety Training and developed Aqua Pi-Yo-Chi™.