AIRDRIE, ALTA.—A hockey player paralyzed in a bus crash has been working onerous since present process spinal surgery in Thailand late final yr and it’s getting him nearer to his dream of constructing the nationwide sledge hockey workforce

Ryan Straschnitzki, who can’t transfer from the chest down, had an epidural stimulator implanted in his backbone in November. The gadget sends electrical currents to his spinal wire to attempt to stimulate nerves and transfer limbs.

Now the previous Humboldt Broncos player spends a few days every week studying to stroll with the assistance of a machine and making an attempt to construct up his legs.

“It’s taking some practice to get those muscles going again, but I’ve noticed even my spasticity is increasing. They’re bigger spasms and the legs are flying all over the place — but it’s good,” he mentioned from his house in Airdrie, Alta.

“One step at a time, right? Any sort of progression is good.”

Straschnitzki’s efforts to enhance his leg muscle mass and bone density, in addition to his stability, are paying off.

In December, he was named to the Alberta sledge hockey workforce.

“Only being a year in and making the provincial team is a huge win in my books,” Straschnitzki mentioned. “I’m excited to see the place it goes sooner or later.

“They have camps each month and this yr nationals are in Leduc (Alta.) in May, so I’m sort of working to get that roster spot to play.”

Straschnitzki, 20, was harm when a semi-trailer and the Broncos workforce bus collided at a rural intersection in Saskatchewan in April 2018. Sixteen folks have been killed and 13 have been injured. The truck driver pleaded responsible to harmful driving inflicting loss of life and was sentenced to eight years in jail.

Uyen Nguyen, government director of the Synaptic Spinal Cord Injury and Neuro Rehabilitation Centre in Calgary, mentioned she hopes the federal authorities takes discover of Straschnitzki’s success.

The surgery can price as much as $100,000, however isn’t coated by public well being care or insurance coverage, as a result of the epidural process has not been accredited by Health Canada.

“I am very, very hopeful that our Canadian government will be more receptive to progressive changes in medical technology,” mentioned Nguyen.

“It is here in Canada and we know the device is safe. It’s being used for chronic pain, so all we need to do is shift perspective to look at other purposes this device could serve.”

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