Steve Fletcher and Team

Bournemouth legend supports charity robotics campaign

Former AFC Bournemouth player Steve Fletcher joined us to launch our latest campaign to fundraise for advanced robotics for rehabilitating patients living with stroke.

Each year over 720 people are admitted to the Royal Bournemouth Hospital with stroke and 75% of these have lower limb weakness. 

We are fundraising £365,000 to buy the aptly named Walkerbot to help patients relearn to walk.

The brain is clever and can rewire itself after a patient suffers a stroke, but this requires intensive practice and individuals to remain as active as possible. The Walkerbot uses a harness suspended above a treadmill and robotic limbs to move the patient’s legs in a consistent pattern. 

This specialist equipment can enable patients to take 1,000’s of steps per session and can even help those with no activity in their affected limbs. This is a vast improvement on the dozens of steps they may take with help from a therapist over the ground.

Steve Fletcher attended the launch event at the Royal Bournemouth Hospital. He said: ‘It’s more crucial than ever to help people living with stroke stay active during their recovery, and as someone whose life has centred on being and staying active, I’m delighted to have been asked to support the Walkerbot campaign.

‘Rehabilitation is a vital part of recovery and will help people regain confidence and independence, ultimately improving their quality of life. To be able to access this sort of technology for free will be life-changing and it’s fantastic to see how dedicated the Trust is to its patients’ health.’

Dr Louise Johnson, Consultant Therapist in the stroke unit at the Royal Bournemouth Hospital, said: ‘Stroke affects everyone differently and rehabilitation is all about supporting people to live full and independent lives. When it comes to the recovery of strength and movement, the amount of practice that someone does is critical – because practicing movements helps to retrain the brain. Technology can help us to achieve high intensity practice in a safe way, particularly for people who are very weak. 

‘We are committed to delivering high quality rehabilitation, so that we give our patients the best chance of recovery. This is why we are so thrilled to launch the Walkerbot campaign. It will be fantastic to be able to offer people access to modern technology to complement their rehabilitation, and help them on their journey to recovery.’

The Walkerbot will also be used for the rehabilitation of patients living with neurological conditions.

For more information on the Walkerbot, visit BHCharity.org/walkerbot or call the Charity Office on 01202 705307.

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