Shriners Hospitals are known for the unparalleled care they give to patients. Part of this reputation includes state-of-the-art rehabilitation, and the Chicago Shriners Hospital recently welcomed a device that lends itself to great rehab: the Pediatric Lokomat®.

At first glance the Lokomat, shown below, looks like a high-tech treadmill. This is partially true - the machine uses treadmill therapy as part of its overall function. More specifically, the Lokomat assists patients in automatic locomotion therapy. The machine simulates the walking motion of the human body, and in the process it teaches the patient's muscles, spinal cord, and brain the act of walking.

The device is manufactured by Hocoma in Volketswil, Switzerland, and was launched in 2006.The Lokomat is the first driven gait orthosis which assists patients with movement disorders resulting from stroke, spinal cord injury, traumatic brain injury, multiple sclerosis, or other neurological conditions. Several local patients come to the Chicago Shriners Hospital for regular Lokomat sessions. Working with a physical therapist, patients are given a rehabilitation routine.

We are thankful to hospital staff members who have been instrumental in acquiring the Lokomat. These include Sara J. Klaas, director of spinal cord injury services; and Bob Cotner, director of development.

"This is an exciting time for us," Klaas says, "The acquisition of the Pediatric Lokomat will enhance our cutting-edge rehabilitation services for those with spinal cord injuries and other mobility impairments."

The Pediatric Lokomat at Shriners Hospitals for Children - Chicago

The Pediatric Lokomat at Shriners Hospitals for Children - Chicago

Patients like Cody Woolums, who sustained a T-4 spinal cord injury from a construction accident in 2008, have benefited from therapy on the Lokomat.

"I can do more with my legs then I thought I could," says Cody.

Patient Cody Woolums on the Pediatric Lokomat

Patient Cody Woolums on the Pediatric Lokomat


Through a series of generous donations the Chicago Shriners Hospital became one of a few facilities in the U.S. to obtain this device, and we extend our gratitude to the persons who made this progressive therapy possible: we are exceedingly thankful! During a ribbon-cutting ceremony in May 2009, a plaque was revealed in the Lokomat room listing and recognizing the donors.

Most recently, on June 26th, Shriners Hospital in Chicago hosted a Pediatric Lokomat Workshop, where representatives from Hocoma, along with Shriners Hospital staff, had the opportunity to train local rehab specialists on the new Lokomat technology and capabilities.

The mission of Shriners Hospitals for Children is to provide the highest quality care without cost to patients or their families. The Pediatric Lokomat has become an exciting part of the ongoing mission.


Robert O. Kuehn
Chairman of the Board of Governors, SHC - Chicago
Shriners Hospitals for Children
August 2009

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