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Rehabilitation one step at a time

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Neurological Rehabilitation Programme


The Walking with Brandon Foundation Neurological Rehabilitation Programme currently runs the Therapy & Beyond Program from Lander & Pursad Biokineticists at the Sports Science Institute of South Africa in Newlands, Cape Town.

The Centre has already received the initial investment of specialised equipment which includes the following equipment:
EKSO Bionics walking suit
Easy Glide Standing Frame
Motorised Inversion Table & Plinths
6m long walking parallel bars
Weyergans Vacuum Chamber
Variety of specialised grips, non-slip pads and assisted weights
Electronic hand grip dynameter
Electrical stimulation device
Complete boxing set

The current clients are all paying clients. It is our goal to acquire funding that will make this specialised training, equipment and services available to clients from the disadvantaged communities at no cost to them.

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Peer-to-Peer Support Programme

Available in 2017

Initially Brandon will be facilitating a peer-to-peer support group at the Centre. He will host weekly workshops and guests will be invited to discuss specialised topics appropriate to rehabilitation (e.g. personal health & hygiene, UTI infections, preventative measures for bed and pressure sores, wheelchair maintenance, advanced unassisted transferring, etc.)

The aim is to grow the team of facilitators from within the initial support group so that small groups can be maintained, facilitated by individuals who have walked the walk – and would therefore be qualified to talk the talk on the road to reclaiming one’s life.

These discussions concern personal and intimate details of daily living and having facilitators who have first-hand knowledge of this journey is key to its success.

Essentially this will be a capacity-building programme which will encourage people in need of counselling (after initially acquiring a disability) to move into the role of peer support facilitator.

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Counselling Programme

Available in 2017

As Mark and Annette Beack have personal experience of working through the trauma of Brandon’s injury they will form the initial counselling team, assisting families and loved ones who are new to this very challenging and difficult way of life.

They will share how to address matters that may arise at home, travelling around the city, how to obtain a disability-parking disk, which clothes to buy and where and how to handle the medical aid to maximise cover (amongst other things).

As with the Peer-2-Peer Programme, capacity will be built in these family members to encourage them, at some future time, to step into the role of counsellor.

Our Story

The Walking With Brandon Foundation was started after Brandon Beack was involved in a tragic gymnastics accident in 2012 that left him paralysed as a C6/C7 quadriplegic. After ten weeks of inpatient therapy, the Beack family was left to fend for themselves and find their own kinds of outpatient therapy for Brandon to benefit from. This led them to realise that there was a massive lack of outpatient neurological rehabilitation offered in South Africa, resulting in them fusing many alternative and conventional forms of rehabilitation to help him recover, such as training with a personal trainer/bodybuilder, acupuncture, homeopathy, training with his gymnastics coach, inversion therapy, psychotherapy, massage and reflexology, and much more. Eighteen months later, Brandon had recovered further than any expectations. He would later go on to attend specialised rehab for six weeks at the Shepherd Centre in Atlanta, Georgia, where he experience not only a variety of different forms of advanced neurological rehab, but also an entirely different mind set, one where there is always space for improvement and recovery. It became apparent to them that South Africa was years behind the rest of the world, and on Brandon’s arrivals back in South Africa came the start of the Rehab centre and the Foundation. Brandon's dreams were to share these new ideologies with the community, help people with disabilities realise their potential and begin a central hub, that acts as a one-stop shop, where people can come to have affordable advanced neurological rehab and not feel the same way that Brandon and his family did after leaving hospital — helpless, confused and scared to face the future.

Progress

The Walking With Brandon Foundation was officially unveiled to the public and registered as an NPO and NGO in early 2015. We have, since then, put together the Therapy and Beyond, program, which has already seen incredible outcomes from its patients. We hold the largest facilities that house an EKSO Bionic Walking suit in the world and have accumulated a variety of state of the art rehabilitation equipment with which we are offering all forms of rehab therapy that one will not find anywhere else locally in South Africa. We have teamed up with The University of Cape Town’s Research Department and begun research into spinal cord injury recovery involving the EKSO suit. Our dream is to one day have our own facilities that will house all the different types of therapies, equipment, and to help a person with any neurological disability.

Therapy & Beyond

South Africa is at least ten years behind in its approach to neurological rehabilitation. The Therapy & Beyond rehabilitation programme is the first of its kind on the African continent, designed to bring advanced neurological rehabilitation to ALL people.

Less than 20% of South Africans have medical aid, meaning that more than 80% of the population depends on government funding for healthcare. Currently, long-term rehabilitation is not a part of the standard of care in South Africa. With no access to long-term rehabilitation, few people reach the full potential of their physical abilities after a neurological injury or disorder. Many remain wheel chair bound with low levels of physical activity.

The Walking with Brandon Foundation and Therapy & Beyond programme strives to develop the facilities and knowledge in South Africa to properly provide for the long-term needs of all individuals with neurological conditions. Our philosophy is to first provide you with the most advanced and effective physical therapy and then help take you BEYOND what you previously thought your body is capable of.

The Therapy & Beyond rehabilitation programme can be described as a six-stage process:

Stage I – Pre-habilitation: The goal of Stage I is to prepare the individual for the intensive rehabilitation program to follow. Blood pressure control is crucial in the initial phases. Muscles in spasm/contracture cannot function in an ideal length-tension relationship and must be stretched/released. It is important to note that not all spasticity is negative; it may assist in maintaining joint stability and muscle mass in some instances. The individual must be clear of secondary complications such as pressure sores and severe autonomic dysreflexia before progressing past this stage.

Stage II – Muscle Recruitment: Regeneration of damaged nerves as well as neuroplasticity (‘re-wiring’) allows the nervous system to regain function that was lost due to injury. The nervous pathways that are used in the latter stages of rehabilitation are developed. As improvements occur within the nervous system, the participant’s ability to recruit muscle fibres improves. This stage requires intense concentration from the individual to cognitively re-connect with the neurons that activate muscular contractions.

Stage III – Posture & Joint Stability: The body cannot move effectively through single muscle contractions, it must function as a kinetic chain. Correct posture and core stability must be developed from which to generate force in the limbs. An example of posture development is sufficient lower back and abdominal support to maintain a natural curvature of the spine. An example of joint stability is sufficient co-activation of the hamstrings and quadriceps to adequately support the knee joint. This stage is crucial before a participant can become weight bearing.

Stage IV – Resistance & Endurance Training: The goal in Stage IV is to initiate muscle contractions whilst in a stable posture developed in Stage III. The strength to perform activities of daily living independently should be developed. Strength, endurance & co-ordination to facilitate a functional walking pattern are also of key importance. The therapist’s task is to help clients do the work, not to do the work for them.

Stage V – Pre-Gait: The aim within Stage V is to improve coordinated movement. The individual is in a transition as they have the function needed to move and control their legs and arms, but do not have the strength, balance, endurance and/or co-ordination to walk unaided. Proper walking technique should be developed to avoid a poor and inefficient walking pattern during the final stage.

Stage VI – Gait Training: The objective of Phase VI is to provide advanced functional walking training for participants who are able to walk with or without adaptive aids. Proper gait technique and the endurance to maintain this technique are once again emphasized. The training program in Stage IV is unique to each participant’s individual goals. While one person may want to get upright and walk in a shopping centre, another may want to go beyond that and partake in competitive sports.

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EKSO Bionics

Ekso Bionics is a leading developer of exoskeleton solutions that amplify human potential by supporting or enhancing strength, endurance and mobility across medical, industrial and defense applications.

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BMW Auto Atlantic

To collectively take ownership of our current and future customers by retaining and attracting quality people and building meaningful relationships.



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Sports Science Institute

The concept of the Sports Science Institute of South Africa (SSISA) was borne from the idea of developing sporting icons in South Africa to promote national pride and unity. The initial vision was generated after extensive interaction between Morné du Plessis, Professor Tim Noakes and Johann Rupert.

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BeActive

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Tigoma Digital

Tigoma digital is an expert digital development agency that specialises on app, web, digital signage, social media and predictive analytics.

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Reddam House College

Reddam House is part of the Inspired group of co-educational and non-denominational international schools.

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Assirelli Design

Andrea Assirelli has been in the business of kitchen design for the past 32 years and has mastered the subtle art of integrating beauty and functionality.


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Stirling Automotive Classic and Performance Rentals aim to deliver the ultimate vehicle experience, whether you are renting a Maserati Cabriolet or a Harley-Davidson Muscle Cruiser.

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Erke

ERKE is a sports and lifestyle apparel brand that specializes in the manufacturing, research and development


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Lander & Pursad

Lander & Pursad is a biokinetics practice that operates within the Sport Science Institute of South Africa and enjoys a close relationship with the University of Cape Town.

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ESSM

At any given time, there are at least 80 research projects underway. Funding for the research is derived from UCT, the National Research Foundation (NRF), the Training Human Resources Industry Programme (THRIP)

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Chaeli Campaign

Our Vision is to mobilise the minds and bodies of children with disabilities and to normalise society through advocacy and education programmes and events.


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AcePak

Since opening for business in 1984, Acepak has focused on offering competitively priced packaging systems ideally suited to local industry.

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Artlab

The ArtLab is a very special Digital Printing Facility! With 34 years experience.


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Shephard Centre

With so much going on at RioCan Sheppard Centre, there are lots of people here to help you with whatever you need.


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Maties Sports

Stellenbosch University has a long and proud sporting tradition and Maties Sport plans to use this as a strong platform from which to launch an exciting future.

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