GWINN, Mich. (WLUC) - Almost two years ago, a 12 foot fall onto concrete left Emily DeVooght with a major spinal cord injury, limiting her mobility.
After surgery and physical therapy, Emily is now walking and running on her own. She gives credit to the Speed Maker, an athlete geared device, for her fast recovery. But it’s how Emily and her therapist, Kim Spranger, tweaked the Speed Maker that brought life to the NewGait.
"I started with the regular speed maker and the next day Kim said, let’s try a different band here and there and it just started getting better and better," said DeVooght.
Now the NewGait can be bought as various body straps and resistance bands. With strategic combinations, it can make those who have lost all balance, walk again.
"It made my life from just living to expanding my horizons," said DeVooght.
"It’s great to be able to learn how to lift my foot off when I’m walking, so it’s really changed the way I’m walk," said Judy Watson Olson, another UP Health System Rehab Services patient.
During the beginning of November, the inventor of the Speed Maker and NewGait from California visited UP Health System Rehab Service centers to see for himself the impact his product has in the rehab world.
"I had one purpose for it for athletes, but to see it help people regain just their basic functions has been truly incredible," said Benga Adeeko.
And the NewGait is not stopping there. NMU is currently in an eight week study to test the effectiveness of the product with balance issues related to multiple sclerosis.
"We are not only going to find out the acute effect of just putting it on and walking, but we are going to see if it changes how much progress they make in physical therapy if they wear it while they are doing therapy," said Kim Spranger, the Director of Physical therapy at the UP Health System Rehab Services - Sawyer.
The physical therapy part of the study will end in December. In the midst of the study, Spranger will continue to use the NewGait in her practice and also teach others how to get the most of the device.
"We are going to start training abroad therapists who can see the value of this device and get it out of the Upper Peninsula to start moving outwards," said Spranger.