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Patient Story

Ed Jackson

May 5, 2023

Ed was a professional rugby player for ten years before he sustained a traumatic spinal cord injury following a diving accident which resulted in a C7 AIS-D spinal cord injury. He was revived 3 times in the back of the ambulance and woke up up to the news that he was now quadriplegic with only limited movement in his right arm. After 11 weeks in hospital, he was doing 3 x 45 minute sessions per week in a specialist centre, which was not sufficient for his rehabilitation needs, so he sourced additional therapy through Hobbs Rehabilitation during his inpatient stay.

Ed was keen to leave hospital, return home to his family and friends and continue his rehabilitation at the intensity required to optimise his recovery. His experience as a professional athlete meant that he knew the importance of high work rate and focus, and he applied this along with his determination to strengthen his arms enough to power his wheelchair. As the rehabilitation programme intensified, so did his ambition and he maximised the use of neurotechnology and the latest rehabilitation tools and devices to maximise his potential… the combination of his winning mentality and Hobbs’ clinical excellence and specialist experience was put to full use. Ed was a full time wheelchair user when he left hospital and had started gait re-education but was not yet independent. The use of robotics and assistive technology has been shown to significantly improve outcomes due to the intensity and repetitive task training possible when combined with hands-on therapy. On training with the EksoGT exoskeleton he says.

“I remember how weird it was when I stood for the first time post injury and that was only after two months. So to be given that experience again after a great deal longer must be incredibly moving.”

Ed is now independently walking all day and no longer requires a wheelchair. He has continued with physiotherapy and occupational therapy and achieved astonishing progress. He reached the summit of Snowdon, Wales’s largest mountain, and led the Restart Rugby Alpine Challenge with a group of ex professional layers to Mount Buet in the Alps– an annual trek raising money for peers suffering from serious injury, illness or hardship. He ‘walked Everest’ virtually on his parents staircase during lockdown, all in a bid to give back to the many charities that have supported him through his rehab.

His journey continues with winning the BBC West Sporting Unsung Hero of the Year, richly deserved. Ed wants to use his story to motivate those facing seemingly impossible challenges!

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