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Award Winning Sports Walker Designed by MS Patient

October 29, 2015

Canadian Brian Light was an avid volleyball player in the year 2001. He was 48 years old and loved being out on the court hustling and diving around. At that time, he began to have trouble balancing himself out on the court. His legs would feel numb for days after playing as well.

As any patient will tell you, multiple sclerosis can result in a loss of balance and weakness in the legs. These are not things that an avid volleyball player should deal with. Eventually he was diagnosed with late onset, slow progressing Primary Progressive MS (PPMS). Soon it dawned on him that he would not be able to play volleyball anymore the way he had.

After seeing pediatric MS patients get around with the use of walkers, Brain decided to use that concept to get himself back on the court. His full-scale prototype is a contraption that would make MacGyver blush, but it did get the job done for him as you can see in this short demonstration.

Naturally the walker progressed to something much more modern, boasting a harness to be worn around the person’s waist, supported by 6 legs spread out to the floor with a caster wheel. This allows the user to shuffle their feet and build momentum, propelling them across the court. The best part is that the users hands remain unoccupied, letting them serve, catch, shoot or anything else they would like to do.

Brian entered the Sports Walker concept in Real MS: Your Innovation, a global design competition presented by Swiss pharmaceutical company Merck Serono. Over 100 entries were received, all of which detailed innovations for helping those with MS deal with the challenges presented by their condition. After a period of online voting by members of the MS community, he was declared the winner of the contest.

Unfortunately, Brain s MS has progressed to the point where he has to play using a wheelchair. However the device he created added 4 years to his “upright” volleyball career and countless years to other’s.