Ruben de Sain
Birth date: January 19 1983
Spinal cord injury: T12
Ruben de Sain was diagnosed with a spinal cord injury almost 12 years ago. From that moment, his life completely changed. It happened during a sunny day when he and his brother decide to go for a ride on their motorcycles. They drove behind a large truck, that suddenly lost some bricks and sand. Ruben and his brother had to avoid the lost junk. His brother drove right through all the mess, but Ruben avoided the mess by driving into the berm. In the berm, he lost the control over his motorcycle and fell down 8 meters. He hit a stump and injured his shoulder badly. Then the motorcycle landed on his back and fractured a vertebra and badly damaged his nerves. Ruben knew something was wrong a few seconds after he hit the ground, as he couldn't move his legs. Medical professionals later told him that he would probably never walk again due to a spinal cord injury.
This did not stop him to live his life to the fullest. Even with his spinal cord injury he is still skiing, water jet riding and performing many more adventurous types of sports.
Ten years after his accident he started a special rehabilitation program at the Sint Maartenskliniek where they made use of a commercial exoskeleton. The program lasted for a period of ten weeks, during which Ruben had the chance to train a lot with the exoskeleton and in the end he was able to walk again properly. Unfortunately, after the rehabilitation period of ten weeks he had to hand in the exoskeleton and went home without the chance of walking again soon.
Ruben wanted to continue walking and therefore he wanted to buy his own exoskeleton. In order to make this happen he started a crowdfunding, which seemed to be very successful. In only one week he gathered enough money to buy the commercial exoskeleton himself. He is very grateful for all the people who made a donation to make his dream come true.
Now that he has his own exoskeleton he uses it a couple of times per week to stay fit. He finally can walk with his puppy in the park. In the Netherlands Ruben is the only one that owns his own exoskeleton at this moment.
Collaboration with Project MARCH
We met Ruben during a testing day at the Sint Maartenkliniek. At this day, Ruben provided us with a lot of useful feedback already. After that day, we decided to ask him to be our new pilot during the year 2016-2017. He immediately replied enthusiastically and agreed to join our project. Project MARCH is very happy that Ruben will be our pilot this year and will thereby help us to reach our goal.