South African IWAS Games Coach continues PhD Study into the ‘Effects of Robotic Walking’


Robert Evans aims to fill the gaps in knowledge currently presented by the impact of robotic walking

In June 2016, Robert Evans and athlete, Brandon Beack touched down in the Czech capital of Prague for the 12th edition of the IWAS Under 23 World Games as part of the team representing South Africa. While Brandon found success on the field with a gold in shotput at his international athletics debut, Robert continued his work on a PhD study into the effects of robotic exoskeleton walking on individuals with incomplete spinal cord injuries.
“As a clinician and researcher, I was privileged to attend my first IWAS Under 23 World Games in Prague this year. For me, these games reinforced the importance of using sport not only as a rehabilitative tool but also as an opportunity to showcase the strength of the human spirit." Robert said.


Brandon & Robert trackside at the IWAS Under 23 World Games 2016 with Irish athletes
Talking of the study he continues to work on, "This research is being done to compare the effects of a robotic walking and an exercise activity-based rehabilitation programme on individuals with an incomplete spinal cord injury. The scientific community does not fully know what the long-term effects of robotic walking are when compared to exercise activity-based rehabilitation. This study hopes to fill those gaps of knowledge."


IWAS Games gold medallist, Brandon Beack prepares to use the robotic exoskelton with Robert Evans
A robotic exoskeleton (Ekso Bionics) will be used for those performing robotic walking training alongside conventional rehabilitation equipment such as parallel bars, free weights, standing frame etc.for the exercise activity-based programme. Those involved in the study will attend 3 rehabilitation sessions per week for the complete 24-weeks as well as medical and psychological assessments throughout the study.
IWAS looks forward to continuing the relationship with Robert Evans as they prepare to expand their rehabilitation centre in March 2017.