COLUMBUS (WCMH)–Finding hope through adaptive sports. That is the mission for Madison Hyzdu, a young woman who recently moved back to Columbus to work with physical therapists at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center’s Spinal Rehabilitation Center.

“I have limitations but if the world kind of adapts to me, life is a lot more achievable,” said Hyzdu.

At age 23, she is achieving this fresh perspective after lifting herself out of her wheelchair and onto a bike.

“I remember propelling it and I smiled so big when I was able to actually move and it felt like freedom,” Hyzdu added.

A freedom Hyzdu says she thought she would never feel again after suffering a tragic fall in August of 2020.

“Standing on a barstool watering my plants, and I passed out and that’s when the spinal cord injury happened,” Hyzdu said.

Hyzdu was born with a genetic condition called Ehlers Danlos syndrome, a condition that affects the connective tissue in her joints and blood vessel walls.

“So, my body doesn’t really know how to regulate my blood pressure,” she added.
For this reason, Hyzdu passes out frequently, and her fall last year ultimately caused paralysis in all four of her limbs. She is now adjusting to life in a wheelchair.

“It was a grieving process, there are times that I would throw water bottles at the wall, and I was just so angry,” said Hyzdu.

Her physical therapists at OSU’s Spinal Cord Rehabilitation Center helped her turn grief into hope.

“She was spending very minimal time in her wheelchair, a lot more time in bed, and there’s no quality of life in that,” said Wendy Koesters, one of Hyzdu’s physical therapists.

In working to rebuild her strength, her therapists introduced her to adaptive cycling.

“Getting to feel like the wind in my face kind of felt like I was running in a way, which I hadn’t done in a while,” said Hyzdu.

Now, she cycles and kayaks weekly.

“The last time I was cycling with Madison, I’m running to keep up with her,” said Koesters.

Hyzdu is working on regaining movement and walking during her therapy sessions, but she is just grateful for the community of support she has found through adaptive sports.

“I think it’s given me a lot of hope, and then it helped me to realize that if I can do this independently, then someday I can do other things independently,” said Hyzdu.

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