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Local technology helps spinal cord victims walk

Sunday, July 22, 2012

There's new technology getting local victims of spinal cord injuries back on their feet.

It's called the Ekso bionic exo-skeleton at Good Shepherd Penn Partners in Center City.

The motors, sensors, and framework are helping those like Dan Webb learn to walk again.

"It will propel him across the ground in a normal reciprocal pattern, with full weight bearing. Initially, the therapist has to help him find his new center of gravity, and find his balance for walking. But over time, the therapist does less and less," said Dr. Kristin Gustafson.

Getting upright helps prevent bone loss which is a serious concern for those with paralysis.

It also improves heart health and the digestive tract.

Webb, who was injured in a fall from a hunting stand, says being out of the wheelchair gives him a mental boost too.

"When you find equipment like this that can get you up, to walk from here to there, to talk to people in the face, it's a great feeling. It's great for the body, but just as good for the mind, to see yourself in the mirror," he said.

Webb says he also wants to stay in shape, for the day his spinal cord injuries can be repaired.

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