Robert: Paralyzed Humboldt Broncos player re-gains ability to move legs

A member of the Humboldt Broncos hockey team who was paralyzed in the 2018 bus crash has regained his ability to move his legs.

Ryan Straschnitzki traveled to Thailand earlier this month for surgery on his spinal cord. This past Wednesday, a video posted to Twitter shows Straschnitzki moving his leg back and forth.

“I was blown away completely. I was not expecting it and not this soon. It was really remarkable,” says Ryan’s mother. “I burst into tears.”

During the surgery, a device was places on Ryan’s spinal cord. Doctors explain that the implant  is meant to reawaken “dormant” cells.

“The underlying concepts behind this implant is it’s an electrical device that’s surgically implanted on the spinal cord below the level of where the injury occurs.” The implant then provides an electrical current into the spinal cord.

“Most people actually experience improvements in motor functions, like wiggling the toes, or move their hips… there is an improvement. Where the ceiling is, depends on the optimization of the stimulation.”

Ryan will now spend several hours a day working on controlling his legs with the new implant. His mother says there’s no guarantee to what extent the implant will do, but there’s hope that with some practice and therapy sessions, Ryan may soon be able to stand with some assistance.

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