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Wheelchair-bound cricketer walks for first time in UAE after 11 years

Saman Haziq /Dubai
Filed on September 26, 2018 | Last updated on September 26, 2018 at 06.13 am
Wheelchair-bound cricketer walks for first time in UAE after 11 years

(Supplied photos)

For people experiencing disability in life, Singh gave his message of positivity and hope.

Life gives us numerous surprises and for Abhai Pratap Singh, former Squardon Leader at the Indian Air Force, it was in the form of a robotic exoskeleton while visiting the UAE.

Singh, during the prime of his career met with an accident that paralysed him below the waist, and was confined to a wheelchair for the rest of his life. Realising that he couldn't fly an aircraft with the disability, he took an early retirement though he had the option of continuing with the Air Force.

Not someone to be bogged down by setbacks, Singh decided to actively contribute to the society, despite of his disability. He took up cricket and was visiting the UAE as part of the Indian team playing at the T-20 India-Pakistan Wheelchair Cricket Series in the UAE. "All I wished was to play good cricket and visit the Burj Khalifa before returning home," he said.

Even as he lived a contented life working to bring the disabled people into the mainstream and promoting wheelchair cricket throughout India and abroad, Singh always wished he could walk again.

However, he got the greatest surprise of his life he visited to check out hospital facilities for determined ones. The Thumbay Physcial Therapy and Rehabilitation Hospital in Ajman, known for its physical therapy and rehabilitation, strapped a bionic suit on Singh and the ex-fighter pilot who had not walked in 11 years, walked for the first time on his own.

"I cannot express in words what I experienced wearing that suit. When the system was being strapped on my body I was nervous. When the doctors asked me to stand up, something unimaginable happened. I could not believe how easily I was able to not only stand up, but also walk for about 20 metres in five minutes. Usually, when I use crutches or calipers, I take nearly two hours to cover that distance. My trip to the UAE was not only fruitful game-wise as we won the Indo-Pak wheelchair cricket series, but also in terms of this amazing experience. I can't thank the Thumbay Hospital team enough and I am looking forward to now buy this robotic exoskeleton."

For people experiencing disability in life, Singh gave his message of positivity and hope. "Disability is just a limitation and everyone in this world has some or the other limitations in life. We have to work around our limitations and look for our extraordinary strength," he said.

What is the Ekso Bionic Suit?

A Robotic Exoskeleton - also known as exoframe, hardsuit, or exosuit - is a wearable mobile machine that is powered by a system of electric motors at the hip and knee joints, and all motions are initiated either through specific patient actions or through the use of an external controller. Ekso Gt can be easily adjusted to fit individuals of different heights and widths.

The Smart Assist technology enables Ekso GT to provide either bilateral or unilateral assistance to the lower extremities. The machine can be programmed to provide 'Adaptive' assistance that constantly adapts motor output in response to patient performance, or a 'fixed' ceiling amount of assistance that provides up to a predetermined maximum amount of motor power to one or both legs.


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