A stroke can be devastating, leaving victims unable to do simple things like standing up, sitting down, even walking. The ZeroG system — new technology recently installed here at the National Rehabilitation Hospital — is helping stroke patients get their lives back.
Patient Colton Peek, featured here in a recent NBC4 TV news segment, suffered a stroke on April 28 that weakened the left side of his body and left him unable to walk. But Peek still had feeling on his left side and the stroke didn't affect him cognitively.
"He was a very good candidate because the most significant aspects of his impairments were related to weakness, motor weakness," said National Rehabilitation Hospital Dr. John Aseff. "He could understand instructions."
The ZeroG system allows individuals with gait impairments to safely practice over-ground walking in a well-controlled environment. The system helps stroke and traumatic brain injury patients learn to walk again by creating a zero gravity environment.
"We can get them up in a very safe and controlled manner and they can practice tasks such as walking, postural balance activities, stepping over obstacles in a safe controlled manner," said NRH scientist Joe Hidler.
Peek has been working with the ZeroG machine for four weeks now. He believes he's on his way to recovery.
"I have a firm belief that I will be able to walk again like I was in April, to be able to do the normal things that I've been able to do."