Aylesbury’s Johnny takes silver medal at inaugural bionic Paralympics

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A BerkelBike pilot from Aylesbury has won a silver medal at the inaugural Bionic Paralympics.

The year of 2016 has been a landmark one for for Disability Sports, not just thanks to the Rio Paralympic Games and the Orlando Invictus Games, but also the inaugural Bionic Paralympics, known as the Cybathlon which was held in Zurich in October this year.

BerkelBike pilot and Aylesbury resident, Johnny Beer-Timms, won a silver medal at the event, where he competed in the Functional Electrical Stimulation (FES) Bike Race.

Johnny rides a specially made bike after he damaged his spine on a trampeline five years ago. His muscles are allowed to move when electrical current is applied to paralysed or weakened muscles.

By placing electrodes on the skin or implanting them, currents are applied to the muscles, making them contract. Thus, a person whose nerves from the brain to the leg muscles are disconnected due to a spinal cord injury (SCI) can use an intelligent control device to initiate a movement, for example, stepping on a bike pedal.

Jonny’s mum, Julia, said: “Initially it was a way for Johnny to get back into excercise following his accident. He always loved sport and was very active. uckily someone noticed how good he was when he used to train at Stoke Mandeville Hospital, and he subsequently got chosen to represent Berkelbikes.

“His successes at the Zurich was on the fifthth anniversary of his accident, which was lovely for all of us.”

A spokesperson for the event said: “Cybathlon provides a platform for the development of novel assistive technologies that are useful for daily life. Through the organisation of the Cybathlon we want to remove barriers between people with disabilities, the public and technology developers.”