Desmond and His Lokomat Therapy Machine

October is National Physical Therapy Month, and we invite you to read about our amazing little patients who have benefited from physical therapy services at children’s hospitals. Today’s blog is about Desmond and his Lokomat machine from Beaumont Children’s Hospital.

If you saw 3-year-old Desmond, you would never know his mom feared he might not walk again.

The day everything changed for this Michigan family seemed like any other day. Desmond cheered his cousin on at a football game. But, after the game, Desmond fell and couldn’t stand back up.

His parents found themselves in a room full of doctors at Beaumont Children’s Hospital who told them Desmond had a tumor, about the size of an olive, on his spinal cord. “I collapsed and my husband and I started crying,” his mom says.

Pediatric surgeons removed the tumor. The good news was that it was not cancer. But, Desmond still needed physical therapy to get the strength back in his legs and walk again. He started traditional physical therapy in October 2014.

Then, in September 2015, a Lokomat therapy machine gave Desmond more tools to teach his body to walk again. It looks like a high-tech treadmill with a strong harness to provide support and robotic braces to help move his legs.

In the beginning, Desmond relied a lot on the machine. The Lokomat includes a video screen that responds to Desmond’s movements and makes physical therapy feel like playtime. After working with the Lokomat for more than two months, Desmond could move his legs without much help from the machine.

“Seeing the tremendous progress that Desmond made, and knowing the impact that his gains will have on his future, is what makes being a pediatric physical therapist such a blessing,” says Beaumont Children’s Hospital physical therapist Laura Woerpel. 

To view more photos visit the Children’s Hospitals Photo Exhibit.

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