Device helps 7-year-old with cerebral palsy walk

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - A device as big as an iPod is not only helping a Tri-State 7-year-old with cerebral palsy walk better, it's also helping re-teach his brain.

Zachary Brophy suffered a stroke while in his mother's womb, which doctors believe caused a mild form of cerebral palsy, resulting in a form of partial lower leg paralysis known as "foot droop." This paralysis has caused Brophy to be weak on his right side and to have an unnatural gait.

Recently, Brophy was fit with a device called a WalkAide, designed by Ted Ryder, a clinician at Hanger Prosthetics & Orthotics. The device is worn around the calf, just below the knee, and it sends mild electrical currents to the muscle to help restore mobility.

The devices also helps re-teach Brophy's brain how to function normally. After turning the device off, Brophy has been able to take 300 "normal" steps as a result of using the device.

Tina Brophy, Zachary's mother, is thrilled with the progress he's made, and how easy using the device is. "Honestly I thought we were going to have a lot more challenges than we've had," she said.

This technology has been available for adults for some time, but was just approved for children this year.

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