Paralysed man can stand and move his legs again

A US man who was paralysed from the chest down after being hit by a car is now able to stand with electrical stimulation of his spinal cord.

Rob Summers, from Oregon, said standing on his own was “the most amazing feeling”.

He can voluntarily move his toes, hips, knees and ankles and also walk on a treadmill while being supported, according to research in the Lancet.

However, a UK expert said this should not be interpreted as a cure.

Rob was a keen baseball player and in 2006 was part of the team which won the College World Series.

But in that summer he was injured in a hit and run accident and his spinal cord was damaged.

Messages from the brain, which used to travel down the spinal cord, were blocked and he was paralysed.

Doctors surgically implanted 16 electrodes into his spine.

Rob trained daily in trying to stand, walk and move his legs, while electrical pulses were sent to the spinal cord.

Within days he was able to stand independently and eventually he could control his legs and step, with assistance, for short periods of time.

“None of us believed it,” said Professor Reggie Edgerton, from the University of California. “I was afraid to believe it.”

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