Bioness Technology Helps Richlands Boy Walk Again

By: Dan Yesenosky
By: Dan Yesenosky

An 11-year old Richlands boy is on his feet with no crutches or cane thanks to a form of new technology helping him to overcome his brain damage.

We brought you the story of Ethan Robinson back in 2008. Five years later, Dan Yesenosky caught up with Ethan and his family to see how electrodes have him walking without assistance. Seven years ago that seemed like a slim possibility.

"I was scared. A little upset with myself, being that I was the one driving the vehicle," said Ethan's mother Pam Race.

When he was 4, Ethan suffered brain damage in a car accident. Ever since, he's been fighting his way back.

"It was like being reborn all over again," said Race. "He crawled, and had to learn how to pull himself up before he could walk."

"He's had his feats as far as going from a wheelchair to a walker, to the crutches, to sometimes using a cane, to now using the Bioness system," said Ethan's father Brian Robinson.

Ethan's father is referring to electrodes that attach to Ethan's legs and sensors in his shoes that stimulate his nerves to help his brain move his legs.

"He runs. He walks. He falls. He does it all," said Race.

"He'll have a spill every now and again," said Robinson. "So we've got to have the helmet on him at all times. He doesn't like it at all. He likes to just go on his own, but we just never want to take that chance of that one fall."

As he works through physical and occupational therapy, Ethan's gradual progress continues.

"It's been a long road," said Robinson.
"I definitely wouldn't wish it upon my worst enemy."

Throughout their journey, Ethan and his family haven't lost faith.

"Five more years down the road?" Normal kid. Normal kid. One day. That's what we're working towards," said Robinson.

Along with his daily therapy in Jacksonville, Ethan also goes to physical therapy in Florida each year. His family says they work with him for long hours every day, and each time he comes back, he shows more and more improvement.


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