Standing paraplegic patient kicks ball to open World Cup

Standing paraplegic patient kicks ball to open World Cup

WORLD CUP KICKER:Brazilian neuroscientist Miguel Nicolelis works in his robotic laboratory in Sao Paulo May 21. Photo: Reuters/Paulo Whitaker

SAO PAULO (Reuters) – A standing paraplegic man kicked the first soccer ball of the World Cup in Sao Paulo on Thursday, a triumphant moment for a research project aiming to give patients who have lost feeling in their legs the ability to walk again.

Brazilian neuroscientist Miguel Nicolelis, normally based at North Carolina’s Duke University, has developed a robotic exoskeleton to assist patients’ movement.

In late April, three patients took steps while wearing the exoskeleton, according to Nicolelis, who posted a celebratory tweet on Thursday saying “we did it!”. His team plans to publish research on the project soon.

Sao Paulo’s Corinthians arena has been criticized for delays and cost overruns, but wheelchair-bound fans, including Congresswoman Mara Gabrilli, were pleasantly surprised at the access and army of support staff they had at a rehearsal game on June 1.

About 60,000 cheering fans attended the match between Brazil and Croatia that kicked off the month-long soccer tournament.

(Reporting by Eduardo Simões; Writing by Caroline Stauffer, editing by Ed Osmond)

Local Headlines

in Local

Recent BVU Graduate Passes


Brett Heitkamp of Johnston was a three time letter winner for the Men's basketball team and very well known around campus...

in Local

Fire Crews Called To Hog Confinement Building


Fire crews were called to a hog confinement office northwest of Sanborn on Tuesday...

in Local

Woman Drives Through Storefront


A van crashed through a storefront at Center Lake Plaza in Spirit Lake this morning...

in Local

Spencer Council Approves QRS Agreement

City Council

The Spencer City Council this week approved an Economic Assistance Contract for Quality Refrigerated Services...

in Local

High 5 Traffic Program Succeeds in Palo Alto County


A 300 percent increase in citations was seen over the past 18 months in Palo Alto County...