Brian and Missy

Advanced Technology Leads to Explosive Gains


Following a cardiac procedure, post-surgical complications led to multiple strokes for Brian, a Nevada resident. He developed locked-in syndrome and, despite paralysis, was fully aware of his surroundings.

Upon admission to Shirley Ryan AbilityLab, Brian could only move his left arm and eyes. After two months of intensive inpatient therapy, he transitioned to our DayRehab program. Despite making significant progress, he was heavily reliant on his wife and best friend, Missy, to assist him with everyday needs.  

Brian remained intent upon making gains, a goal that our team shared. To complement his therapy, he chose to participate in a unique technology program in which our research team introduces different technologies over time and as patients improve — an opportunity he and Missy credit as a “game-changer.” Brian started with the Ekso Bionics exoskeleton — a wearable robot that aids walking — three times a week. From there, he has progressed to benefiting from soft exoskeletons and functional electrical stimulation. With the help of these technologies, Brian has been able to achieve higher rehabilitation “dosage” and walking intensities than ever before.

After just a few weeks in this program, he started to make significant functional improvements that continue today. Now, nine months following his stroke, he has regained the ability to stand, transfer, lift his right arm and move up the stairs with help. He also can walk more than 300 feet with his cane!