The robot that helped a B.C. man walk again, and his quest to bring it to patients like him
There was a time when doctors told Michael Coss that he might never recover from a near-fatal car accident on the Coquihalla Highway.
In 2006, he was left with a traumatic brain injury that put him in a coma for six months, and would force him into a power chair for seven years.
Today, he can walk again without too much help.
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For his efforts, Coss was honoured with a Courage to Come Back Award for Physical Rehabilitation in 2012.
And he said his mobility today is largely thanks to the Lokomat, a machine used in physiological rehabilitation that includes a treadmill, a harness and robotic attachments.
Its aim — to help you re-learn to walk on your own two feet.
“I would say that machine was what enabled me to walk today,” Coss told Global News.
“It has given me a sense of confidence.”
The Lokomat is operated by physiotherapy clinic Neuromotion.
Helpful though it is, there are only two places in British Columbia where you can access it: Victoria and Vancouver — and the Lokomat in the latter location is occupied as much as eight hours per day, six days a week.
There is a third machine at UBC, but it’s only available to researchers.
So Coss has partnered with Neuromotion’s clinic in Surrey in a bid to raise $500,000, enough to bring a Lokomat there.
READ MORE: Courage to Come Back Awards
“There is an overwhelming need and demand, especially in the Fraser Valley, for access to the Lokomat gait therapy,” Pauline Martin, owner of Neuromotion Physiotherapy Surrey, said in a news release.
If the Lokomat were self-funded, it would cost patients $500 per session.
That’s something Neuromotion hopes to avoid.
Anyone who wants to contribute can to go the Project Lokomat website.
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