In October 2018, Alex was doing what he loved most – playing rugby. The rising sports star was training with the Under-17 NSW Rugby Sevens youth selection squad when he was badly injured on the field, breaking his neck and severely damaging his spinal cord.
Alex’s parents were told that he would never walk again, and to prepare for the reality that Alex would be a quadriplegic, paralysed from his arms down.
Alex spent nine days in the intensive care unit and 22 days in the Spinal Unit at the Royal North Shore Hospital. He then spent over seven months at Royal Rehab’s Spinal Injury Unit where he worked extremely hard learning to adjust to his new life, and regaining function and movement in his limbs.
Since then, Alex has reached major physical and mental milestones – attending music festivals, building strength and control of his limbs so he can brush his teeth, using a computer, feeding himself, and performing quicker and stronger transfers to and from his wheelchair – which he can now operate himself. He has also recently finished his HSC and will soon be starting a Bachelor of Business and Law at the University of Technology, Sydney.
His family was quick to explore every possible opportunity that could help maximise Alex’s recovery. Their search led them to Royal Rehab which has recently acquired advanced robotic exoskeleton EksoNR. The family embraced the opportunity to use EksoNR to fast-track his rehab and help him stand and walk again. His family was quick to explore every possible opportunity that could help maximise Alex’s recovery. Their search led them to Royal Rehab which has recently acquired advanced robotic exoskeleton EksoNR. The family embraced the opportunity to use EksoNR to fast-track his ability to stand and walk during therapy.
After completing four physiotherapy sessions with EksoNR, with additional ones planned over next few months, Alex is excited about being involved in this world-leading rehab therapy. Alex says he really enjoys using the device, which is providing a big challenge for his muscles, balance and coordination, giving him a great overall workout.
“The first time I did it I thought I was going to fall straight onto my face but I’m starting to get used to it now and I’m relearning how I need to stand,” said Alex.
“I haven’t been able to take my first step yet since the accident but with the Ekso, I can do it. There are so many benefits to the workout – it’s just really great physically and emotionally to be able to stand up again.”
“Watching him take those first steps was wonderful and powerful. It once again regenerates the hope that things are improving and that technology and medical advancements will continue to provide new opportunities for Alex and others like him,” said Alex’s mother Kylie.
After nine sessions of EksoNR therapy, Alex has improved his standing endurance, doubled his walking time, increased his steps per session by 133% and improved his step pattern and weight symmetry.
The EksoNR advanced robotic exoskeleton is now available in Australia at Royal Rehab, delivering better and faster outcomes for people living with neurological conditions and injury such as stroke, spinal cord injuries, multiple sclerosis, acquired brain injury and more. You can access the EksoNR through our inpatient and day rehab programs as well as through your relevant funding body such as NDIS, iCare or self-fund. For more information on the EksoNR, contact us on (02) 9808 9222 or visit us on www.royalrehab.com.au/eksoNR to see how we can help you or a loved one today.