News

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)

Latest Stories

in Sports

Tony Stewart returns to NASCAR racing after fatal accident

Fresh
Tony Stewart smiles as he speaks with his crew before the start of the rain delayed NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Daytona 500 race at the Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida, February 27, 2012.

Tony Stewart will return to racing this weekend at the Atlanta Motor Speedway for the first time since he struck and killed a young racer at a dirt track earlier this month.

in Sports

Mismatch fears over Paul McGinley dispelled

Fresh
Europe's Paul McGinley of Ireland watches his shot on the third hole during the second day of foursomes competition against Asia at the Royal Trophy golf tournament in Chonburi province, near Bangkok, January 10, 2009.

Four-times European Tour winner Paul McGinley won the Ryder Cup in 2002 but Phillip Price says next month's matches at Gleneagles could end up defining his career.

in Sports

Dream run over for Catherine Bellis as big guns advance

Fresh
Aug 28, 2014; New York, NY, USA; Catherine Bellis (USA) hits to Zarina Diyas (KAZ) on day four of the 2014 U.S. Open tennis tournament at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.

Serena Williams and Novak Djokovic were forced to take a backseat to 15-year-old Catherine Bellis, who hogged the Flushing Meadows limelight once again.