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The Cyborg

Michel Roccati

My story

Hi,
I am Michel Roccati, I am Italian/German and I have been born in 1991 in Turin (Italy).

Since childhood, my passions have included sports, fitness and motorcycling.

In 2017, after a motorcycle accident, I had a complete spinal cord injury, which prevented me from using my lower limbs.

As of 2020, I am the first person in the World to regain mobility in my legs and return to walking after a complete spinal cord injury.

This, thanks to the participation in Switzerland, in an innovative experimental biomedical research project called “Stimo”. The operation involves installing special electrodes subcutaneously in the back below the spinal cord injury.

After the accident, with the support of my Family, I did not lose heart and resolutely pursued my goal of returning to walking.
First, I trained my body and mind on a daily basis. I performed and experimented with exercises to maintain muscular and mental plasticity. In addition, I studied marrow and brain function and analyzed the various research projects on this topic.

At a scientific conference, I found out about the research project “Stimo” and decided to apply for their clinical trials. Almost two years passed between application and acceptance.

Before the surgery, I had to undergo various pre-rehabilitation tests so that the research team could assess my physique and stamina before I underwent the surgery.

In August 2020, I had surgery at a clinic in Lausanne, Switzerland.  The operation involves installing special electrodes in the back below the spinal cord lesion subcutaneously near the spinal cord injury.

The electrodes communicate via Bluetooth with a tablet on which there are different programs, which transmit electrical impulses according to the activity I have to do. Such as walking, climbing stairs, swimming, biking or using different types of gym equipment.

After the surgery, after 15 days of recovery, I officially started the experimental process.

For almost a year, I had intensive daily sessions with an approximately international team of more than 70 people including engineers, physical therapists, doctors. The training and tests were carried out, using innovative equipment designed specifically for the project.

During these months of training, I gradually regained muscles in my legs and switched from walking in parallel bars, to walker, to crutches without the aid of any support.

Currently, I am still working together with the research team. Our goal is to test the maximum results achievable from the implant in daily life. I continue to train 2 to 6 hours a day. We are developing, testing and optimizing programs that allow the greatest number of exercises to be performed, to allow.

In addition to in the lab and at home, I also use stimulation at work. At the  company that I created together with my Brother Manuel. The 3R International S.r.l. specialized in training and consultancy on safety and security at the workplace.

My goal, besides testing the technology to make it public, is to communicate and disseminate its outstanding results. Giving positivity, hope and one more reason to train to all those people who have to use of a wheelchair as a result of spinal cord injury.

1991
July 2017

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