SoldierStrong, a national nonprofit organization dedicated to providing revolutionary medical technologies to help injured Veterans lead full lives donating an Indego Therapy exoskeleton to VA Boston Healthcare System, West Roxbury Campus today.
The Therapy+ software suite, included with each Indego Therapy device, incorporates control algorithms based on proven motor learning principles and allows for an individualized, patient-centric training approach where the device responds to a patient’s active contribution and assists in gait only when necessary. Additionally, therapists have a range of customizable settings within the Therapy+ software suite which allows them to further tailor the behavior of the system to specific impairment and gait needs.
Dr. Marika Hess, Acting Chief, Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) noted that currently, VA Boston has an exoskeleton model in use. “The donation of this type of device allows us to have more device options for our Veterans who meet the medical clearance and FDA criteria to allow for robotic-assisted ambulation post spinal cord injury,” Hess said. “When a veteran takes his or her first steps, in some instances, the ability to ambulate in these devices can be life-changing.”
SoldierStrong co-founder Chris Meek said the state’s concentration of military personnel and veterans was a factor in the donation.
“There are more than 383,000 veterans in Massachusetts alone and almost one-fourth of them rely on some type of medical care from the VA, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The VA and its staff are dedicated to providing the best care to those veterans, but it’s important that groups like SoldierStrong stand with them to achieve that mission,” Meek said. “With advanced medical technology and expertise saving more and more servicemen and women who suffer severe injuries – especially on the battlefield – there’s an ever-growing need for exoskeletons and similar devices to make rehabilitation as effective as possible. We’re extremely proud to help as many veterans as we can so that they will experience the physical and emotional benefits of standing and walking again.”
A veteran, who had experienced a spinal injury, demonstrated his new-found ambulation abilities using the exoskeleton during the event.
Meek said the organization’s goal to help as many Veterans as possible was a significant factor in the local donation. Since SoldierStrong’s inception after 9/11, the Stamford, Conn.-based group has donated more than $3 million of medical devices to help injured veterans. Today’s donation is the organization’s 23rd exoskeleton donation and the second for VA Boston.