“Finn is a football loving 11-year-old. He is an avid reader and loves his PlayStation, but he’s also outgoing and sociable and will talk to anyone. He never complains about the difficulties he faces,” says his dad Anthony.
Sadly, Finn suffered a stroke just before or during his birth causing cerebral palsy which affects the right side of his body. Finn has a condition called dropped foot which can make walking very difficult and tiring – but, developed with support from Action, a practical device based on Functional Electrical Stimulation (FES) technology is proving a great help.
Anthony explains: “Finn wears a little box attached to his belt, and wires down his legs. These attach to sticky pads on his calves. This system is wirelessly connected to a special switch inside Finn’s right shoe.”
The pads deliver small electrical pulses to Finn’s muscles. One pad lifts his toes and the other turns them outwards, helping him to walk fluidly and reducing the risk of trips and falls.
Anthony and his partner Helen have seen real benefits for Finn, who will use the device, called the Odstock Dropped Foot Stimulator (ODFS®), at least until he stops growing: “It makes a huge difference to his walking,” Anthony says.
FES therapy, which has so far benefited 200 children in the UK, is also helping Finn pursue his greatest passion in life: football. He plays for Chelsea Football Club under 12s team through the Chelsea Foundation’s Disability Inclusion Programme and for the FA’s Regional Talent Centre in the southeast.
“Without this research, Finn simply wouldn’t have the benefit of this technology. It’s absolutely about giving opportunities to kids, to make a difference – a profound difference,” his dad says.
Have you been affected by Cerebral palsy and drop foot?
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