Medical Opinions & Editorials

Inspirational: Stroke Survivor Who Learned to Walk Again

Brad Berman training on the Ekso exoskeleton at Burke Rehabilitation Center in White Plains, N.Y., Oct. 2014. CBS News
Brad Berman training on the Ekso exoskeleton at Burke Rehabilitation Center in White Plains, N.Y., Oct. 2014. via CBS News

This is the story of Brad Berman, an active person who at age 35 suddenly suffered a stroke that put him in a coma, but after 18 months of rehabilitation he was back to work.  Sometimes, we focus so much on the technology and its testing that we forget about the human element.  The men and women who seek the newest medical equipment in order to overcome their impairment and get back to speed.  This is a personal story of loss, perseverance, taking the lead and success.

On May 24th 2016, Parade Magazine published: Meet an Inspirational Stroke Survivor Who Learned to Walk—and Talk—Again.  What makes this story so great is that it shows the world of exoskeleton rehabilitation, specifically post stroke rehabilitation, from the point of view of the patient and their family.  It is a mirror image to the presentation by Dr. Karen Nolan from the Kessler Foundation Stroke Recovery Clinical Trials With Ekso GT.

The article published by Parade Magazine perfectly humanizes the users of the Ekso GT and when reading the story (or if you have already read it) pay attention to some of the additional points that are brought up:

  • When Brad decides to get an exoskeleton for rehabilitation, he and his wife have to go out and fundraise for it.  What would it take to have insurance companies to cover the cost in the future?
  • The Ekso GT rehabilitation exoskeleton did not replace Brad’s therapy, but augmented it.  The wearable robot insured that at every rehabilitation session Brad will be taking consistent, numerous quality steps.  This facilitated for his brain to be “rewired” and would have otherwise taken many rehabilitation professionals working with him continuously.
  • The goal for Brad was to complete his rehabilitation program and be able to walk without the use of any assistive devices.  The Ekso GT was a tool to help him recover, not a device that he would have to wear for the rest of his life.

Special thanks to Parade Magazine for publishing such a great inspirational story.  It gives us a glimpse of what millions of stroke patients have to go through and directly illustrates how exoskeletons can help them.  The obstacles the Berman’s had to go through to be able to use the Ekso GT clearly illustrate many of the challenges the exoskeleton industry is currently faced with.

Want more?

In December 2014, more than an year earlier, CBS news caught up with Brad Berman while he was still going through physical therapy and produced a very good video segment which also introduces us to MIT/Interactive Motion Technologies ANKLEBOT in addition to the Ekso GT: CBS News – Robotics help marathon runner get back on his feet


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