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Exoskeleton suit helps patient walk into future

Paralyzed man heads for home


For the first time in three years, Cory Cook is able to walk after becoming the first patient at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital to take home a ReWalk Robotic exoskeleton suit.

A diving accident left the 35-year-old paralyzed. Yesterday, Cook took his $77,000 suit home. He’s the first person in the United States to have his exoskeleton paid for by a private insurance company, according to ReWalk.

“Anything I can do, sort of, to keep moving and in a vertical position, really is extremely exciting,” said Cook, who added there are also physical benefits to walking again, like regaining core strength and slowing the loss of bone density.

The suit is fit to his body and runs on rechargeable batteries that last up to four hours and are kept in a backpack. Crutches help him stay balanced and, with the touch of a button on a watch, Cook can tell the suit he wants to walk.

Cook has been walking with the machine since October during therapy sessions at Spaulding.

“So it’s kind of just right off the bat. You just go with it,” said Katie Couture, a physical therapist at Spaulding who credits Cook’s positive attitude as the driving force to his successful recovery.

The ReWalk exoskeleton Cook uses is the sixth generation of suits. For now, the technology is only for those who have spinal cord injuries. However, CEO Larry Jisinski said the company has goals to make it available for all mobile disabilities.

“We see as a mission for this company using robotics, exoskeletons, exosuits, things of the type to help people with spinal cord injury, stroke, Parkinson’s, MS and all those things over the coming years to be able to be more mobile and walk and continue in their life,” Jisinski said.

Author: Erica Moura
Date: July 24, 2015
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