Teenager learns to walk and run again after serious brain injury

Wil Ritchie spent weeks in a coma and nearly a year recovering after a mountain biking accident in 2020.

A teenager recovering from a brain injury is learning how to walk and run again with the help of a state-of-the-art treadmill.

Wil Ritchie spent weeks in a coma and nearly a year recovering at Ninewells Hospital in Dundee after a mountain biking accident in 2020.

Despite wearing a helmet he suffered a serious brain injury, with medics and his family unsure how well he would recover.

Now, a new treadmill has helped improve his strength and co-ordination when walking and running.

The 17-year-old, from Forfar, told STV News: “It has helped with my speed of running and my walking is becoming much more natural.

“It really allows me to give it my all, you know like trying my hardest without any risks.”

The treadmill looks like one you would see in a gym, but it has a specially adapted harness which gives people extra security when building back their muscle strength.

Carol Greig, a physiotherapist at NHS Tayside said: “It helps because of the body weight harness, it keep the patient really secure and prevents them from losing their balance.

“Because the harness attaches to the suspension then we can reduce the body weight going through the person’s legs and feet so it makes it easier for them to move.”

It’s already been used by patients at the hospital, including those recovering from a stroke.

Wil’s mum Fiona says seeing how much he has achieved is difficult to put into words.

She added: “We were in a very dark place when he had his accident and there were so many unknowns.

“Dave, my husband and I, we are grateful for everything that Will achieves daily and weekly. Enormous things.

“We are just going along with him and enjoying these achievements.”

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