Sen. Kirk begins ‘new phase’ of recovery

Illinois Sen. Mark Kirk (R) on Friday said that he was entering a "new phase" in his recovery from a stroke.

"As I move into a new phase of outpatient rehabilitation for occupational and physical therapy, I will continue to work hard in order to further regain my strength," said the lawmaker in a statement.

Kirk thanked the medical team he has worked with since he suffered a severe stroke on the right side of his brain in January. 

"I am grateful to Dr. George Hornby, the physical therapists, and other personnel of the walking research trial at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago for helping me to advance my mobility and independence over the past nine weeks," he said.

"With their encouragement and help, within the research trial I walked an average of 3,677 steps per day, a total of 14.79 miles over ground and on the treadmill, and up 145 flights of stairs."

In May, Kirk released a video of his physical rehabilitation, showing him walking on treadmills and with a harness assisted by doctors.

Kirk left the rehabilitation treatment center that month and returned home, but has continued to work on regaining mobility through an outpatient program and a research trial which doctors hope will better help stroke patients walk again.

Doctors initially believed Kirk would have limited movement on his left side, but since that initial prognosis have expressed optimism about his recovery.

Outside of occasional updates on his health, Kirk has remained out of the public spotlight but has visited with a number of his colleagues.

His office released a photo of Kirk meeting with fellow GOP Rep. Judy Biggert (Ill.) at his home this week.

"Every day is a challenge but I am committed to providing you with updates on my rehabilitation and my work on behalf of Illinois in the United States Senate. Thank you to all who continue to send their prayers and messages of support, I am honored to serve and look forward to returning as soon as possible," said Kirk in his statement.

Kirk was elected to the Senate in 2010, to former President Barack Obama's seat.

More in News

Eagles of Death Metal has ‘new family’ after Paris terror

Read more »