Page 3 Profile: John Simpson, C-brace patient


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The Independent Online

In the swing of things?

A man who was unable to walk unaided for almost 50 years has been fitted with a computer-controlled leg brace that lets him walk naturally. Yesterday, John Simpson, 63, became the first Briton to wear the lower-limb bionic exoskeleton.

The wonders of modern technology…

The golf fan, from Wimbledon, south-west London, said: “It’s going to change my life.” Mr Simpson’s nerves were destroyed by polio when  he was a child. Despite multiple operations, he was left unable to walk unaided and has relied on a locked-leg brace to help him move around since he was 14.

How does this device differ?

The carbon fibre brace, named the C-Brace, was developed by the German prosthetics company Ottobock to help people living with partial paralysis, spinal injury, post-stroke and post-polio syndrome to walk naturally again. It uses a built-in microprocessor and sensors to allow the knee to control  all aspects of the walking cycle and can be worn on either one or both legs.

Is Mr Simpson impressed with the invention?

He described it as  “a revolution”, saying: “I can  walk naturally again.”

Have his mobility issues held him back in the past?

Actually, Mr Simpson has been playing golf to a high standard since he was a teenager. He had a successful career as senior vice-president of the sports and media agency IMG, managing athletes including Lord Coe, and also established the On Course Foundation  – a military charity that supports the recovery of wounded service personnel through golf.

So how does he plan to make the most of his  bionic limb?

Mr Simpson looks forward to playing golf more comfortably than ever before.