WTAP @ 5 To Your Health Report: Spinal Cord Technology

By: John Lisk
By: John Lisk

A few years ago, if someone was diagnosed with a chronic spinal cord injury, the idea of that patient ever walking again would be out of the question.

But new technology and therapy have made it possible for some people to rejuvenate the movement in their legs, helping them to take some major steps.

Here's John Lisk with today's Health Minute.

Matt Courson was a golden boy. Bright, talented, and smart, his future looked bright. That all changed five years ago when he decided to drive his four-wheeler over to a friend's house in Arkansas.

"My four wheeler went off a 20-foot embankment."

His back bone was shattered. His doctors said he would never walk again.

But a year after his injury, Matt moved to Baltimore, Maryland, to work with specialists at the center for spinal cord injury at the Kennedy Krieger Institute. He began an extensive rehab regiment, designed to help patients with chronic spinal cord injuries recover sensation and movement in their legs.

"One basis, big basis of our program is using modern technology to move someone who is paralyzed using their own nervous system."

The therapy includes gait training, and water therapy, along with functional electronic stimulation, known as F-E-S. F-E-S uses a computer to send electrical impulses to a patient's legs, causing them to contract, and relax while riding a bicycle. It does the work that the brain would normally do.

As Matt's sessions progress, so does his recovery. In fact, this May he graduated from college, by walking across the stage.

Although Matt has a long way to go before he can walk without assistance, his doctors and family believe that he will eventually do it. But no one believes it more than Matt Courson.

For today's Health Minute, I'm John Lisk.


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