Dale thought he would never walk again after a fall from a ladder crushed his spine, leaving him paralyzed from the chest down. However, thanks to research conducted by Cleveland FES Center, Dale can not only stand but also ambulate. “I was at a loss because I was used to being busy and active and couldn’t imagine being confined to a wheelchair” Dale said. “In fact, the day before the accident, I had been playing golf and shot a 42 for nine holes – the best game I ever played!” he boasts.
In 2005, Dale received an implanted FES System as part of a research trial at the FES Center of Excellence of the Rehabilitation Research and Development Service, a consortium of the VA, Case Western Reserve University, and MetroHealth Medical Center in Cleveland, Ohio. This system Cleveland FES Center enables Dale to stand and with the aid of a walker move from one activity to another in order to maintain the active lifestyle that he enjoys.
Dr. Ron Triolo, project director, Cleveland FES Center, explains how the FES technology transformed Dale’s activity level. “The system stimulates surgically implanted electrodes in Dale’s torso and lower extremities, resulting in contraction of selected muscles, allowing him to sit upright and causing his legs to straighten so that he can lift himself out of his wheelchair to perform daily tasks that would be difficult to do seated in a wheelchair, such as putting the dishes away or accessing items from a refrigerator or shelf.”