On Saturday 4 October 2014 over 60 000 people witnessed how Springbok Legend, Joost van der Westhuizen, walked the hallowed turf for the last time during the halftime break when South Africa took on New Zealand in the Castle Lager Rugby Championship at Ellis Park, the same place where he helped to unite a nation during the 1995 IRB Rugby World Cup Final, with the help of a bionic suit.
Due to the degenerative illness of ALS which Joost suffered from, he had been wheelchair bound for the better part of 3 years.
How many of us know someone who is confined to a wheelchair due to paralyses or illness? “How awesome would it be if those people could walk again?” we ask ourselves occasionally. Well, now that question can be answered with a resounding “YES!” thanks to the guys from Just Walk Bionics.
Just Walk Bionics is an advanced rehabilitation centre in Rivonia (Gauteng), that is making the impossible possible by offering individuals with lower extremity paralysis or weakness the opportunity to stand and walk again. Using an exoskeleton, our rehabilitation centre is redefining mobility by combining technology with tenacity with outstanding results. The battery-operated bionic walking suit strapped on over the user’s clothes, is FDA approved and the first and only suit of its kind in South Africa.
Patients with neurological disorders such as MS, ALS, Guillain Barre, and in time stroke patients too, are candidates for walking in the EKSO. In addition to rehabilitation with the EKSO, the centre provides non-traditional exercise-based therapy to individuals suffering from spinal cord injuries, either to maximise their recovery after suffering a debilitating injury, or to help prepare them for their first steps in the bionic walking suit. Just Walk Bionics is EKSO’s official reference centre in South Africa.
Just Walk Bionics was opened by Justin Smith, a C6 incomplete quadriplegic. Making the impossible possible, the centre is providing individuals with spinal cord injuries and lower extremity paralysis or weakness the opportunity to experience freedom and mobility – to stand and walk again using an exoskeleton.
Centre co-founders Justin Jeffery and Charl Kaschula are the Biokineticists trained in proper Ekso operation and have completed the mandatory Ekso™ certification training.
Redefining mobility by combining technology with tenacity – at Just Walk Bionics every step is a milestone. This is where personal stories of triumph are born and where dreams previously thought to be impossible, are fast becoming reality.
The rehab centre, the first Ekso centre of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere, is enabling wheelchair-bound patients to stand and walk through the use of an exoskeleton – a bionic walking suit.