Firefighter Ben Schultz started his rehabilitation day around 9 Wednesday morning. His day didn’t end until about 9 Wednesday night.

Schultz is in Omaha, Nebraska, recovering at QLI, a specialized brain and spinal cord injury rehabilitation provider. The firefighter fell down a 100-foot ladder in June. He has been recovering since. 

The day started with some intense cardio therapy in the pool. An adaptive sports specialist for Ben timed him on laps. His did his first lap in about 18 seconds. Schultz then swam four more laps with his time dropping to just 13 seconds on his final lap.

“I saw a lot of determination and a competitiveness that was pretty self-evident. Ben always shows up and works hard. Which means you get a better outcome and you move along further,” said Ben’s specialist, Ed Armstrong.

Ben is even surprised by his progress.

“I’m blown away by how far I’ve come in so little time after that horrible accident,” he said.

Shortly after the pool, Ben moved to the archery range. He learned how to fire a crossbow. Specialists want to see how he does on the crossbow before moving onto a gun for Schultz’s hunting ambitions.

“I’m hoping to do some big game like maybe some caribou, bear or moose once I get home,” said Schultz.

After the archery range, Schultz did some more water therapy on a pool treadmill, which allows him to reduce the weight on his feet because he’s still recovering from one of his broken ankles.

“It’s a lot of getting used to walking again. Getting my ankle used to rotate,” said the firefighter.

“He’s been through a lot. Nothing really gets him down. He comes every day ready to work-- ready to push himself-- brings me ideas, which makes it fun as a therapist," said Q.L.I. physical therapist Megan Potter.

Ben's rehabilitation day finally came to an end around 9 p.m. after a drive around town. Schultz was with his driving instructor. He drove while they went out for sushi. He says the ride was a smooth one, no problems.

Ben Schultz’s says he’s hoping to return to Alaska in June.

Schultz is expecting to work on some EMS training on Thursday. Look for our reports at 5, 6 and 10 p.m.

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