Claire Lomas completes Great North Run in ReWalk Suit
The incredible achievements of Leicestershire’s Claire Lomas, who completed the Great North Run in a ReWalk suit despite being paralysed from the waist down, marks an important step in future rehabilitation for those affected by spinal injury.
Having previous completed the London Marathon in 2012 (becoming the first person suffering from paralysis to finish the course), the Great North Run is just the latest step for Lomas, who used her achievement in the North-East to raise money for Nicholls Spinal Injury Foundation (NSIF). Claire Lomas was previously an event horse rider and sustained her injuries during a fall.
Rewalk Robotics Suit
Claire Lomas’ inspirational achievements were completed with the aid of a ReWalk Robotics suit, designed to allow those affected by paraplegia to walk again. She completed the course in 5 days, starting each weekday with a motivational speech in a local school.
The exoskeleton was designed by ReWalk Robotics, an Israeli company focused on enabling people with paraplegia to walk upright again. Although still in its infancy and costing around £50,000, the ReWalk Robotics suit is battery-powered and controlled by a remote device attached to the user’s wrists. Through the use of a motion sensor, the Rewalk suit walks and moves by detecting movements in the user, such as shifts in balance. Leaning the upper body forward as one would when walking activates the motion sensor, which then sets the legs into action.
The ReWalk suit requires the use of crutches to prevent the user falling over during motion. It also comes with a watch which gives the user the choice whether to sit or stand. It can also be used to travel upstairs or downstairs.
Although the ReWalk Robotics suit is still in its early days and is under constant improvement, it remains a major breakthrough in mobility for people with paraplegia, actually enabling people to walk again without supervision. In connection with recent virtual reality research into traumatic spinal cord injury, the creation of the ReWalk suit – and the success of people such as Claire Lomas who have used the suit to fulfil a dream – are a major step forward. We look forward with great interest to further progress being made in the realm of spinal injury rehabilitation.
TLW’s spinal injury solicitors have a local heritage, providing specialist legal services to people for over 15 years in the region. With extensive training, we work alongside experienced care and rehabilitation specialists to ensure our personal injury clients receive the very best professional advice and are able to access the support they require following spinal injury compensation.
For more information on the types of spinal injury, please see our infographic.
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