Mark Pollock would never have thought of walking again. And yet, this is the feat that this 39-year-old Irishman, previously in a wheelchair, has just completed.
Blind since the age of 22, he lost the use of his legs after falling from a window on the 2nd floor of a building in 2010. But the man is a fighter. His visual impairment did not prevent him from winning bronze and silver medals at the 2002 Commonwealth Rowing Championship. Even better, in 2009, he became the first blind man to cross the South Pole, accompanied by a team restraint.
So when his accident forced him to move in a wheelchair, he learned about the exoskeletons. These robotic shells had already allowed paralyzed people to walk again, mechanically. But by combining an exoskeleton with a technique of spinal stimulation that does not require surgery, Mark Pollock has made a quantum leap: he has managed to control his muscles himself to achieve thousands of steps in three weeks.
The University of California, Los Angeles, which follows it, published at the beginning of September the results of its progress. Volunteer walking also helped the Irish man improve his cardiovascular function and muscular tone. Good hope for all those who travel in wheelchairs.