The Walking With Brandon Foundation was started after Brandon Beack was involved in a tragic gymnastics accident in 2012 that left him paralysed as a C6/C7 quadriplegic. After ten weeks of inpatient therapy, the Beack family was left to fend for themselves and find their own kinds of outpatient therapy for Brandon to benefit from. This led them to realise that there was a massive lack of outpatient neurological rehabilitation offered in South Africa, resulting in them fusing many alternative and conventional forms of rehabilitation to help him recover, such as training with a personal trainer/bodybuilder, acupuncture, homeopathy, training with his gymnastics coach, inversion therapy, psychotherapy, massage and reflexology, and much more. Eighteen months later, Brandon had recovered further than any expectations. He would later go on to attend specialised rehab for six weeks at the Shepherd Centre in Atlanta, Georgia, where he experience not only a variety of different forms of advanced neurological rehab, but also an entirely different mind set, one where there is always space for improvement and recovery. It became apparent to them that South Africa was years behind the rest of the world, and on Brandon’s arrivals back in South Africa came the start of the Rehab centre and the Foundation. Brandon's dreams were to share these new ideologies with the community, help people with disabilities realise their potential and begin a central hub, that acts as a one-stop shop, where people can come to have affordable advanced neurological rehab and not feel the same way that Brandon and his family did after leaving hospital — helpless, confused and scared to face the future.
The Walking With Brandon Foundation was officially unveiled to the public and registered as an NPO and NGO in early 2015. We have, since then, put together the Therapy and Beyond, program, which has already seen incredible outcomes from its patients. We hold the largest facilities that house an EKSO Bionic Walking suit in the world and have accumulated a variety of state of the art rehabilitation equipment with which we are offering all forms of rehab therapy that one will not find anywhere else locally in South Africa. We have teamed up with The University of Cape Town’s Research Department and begun research into spinal cord injury recovery involving the EKSO suit. Our dream is to one day have our own facilities that will house all the different types of therapies, equipment, and to help a person with any neurological disability.
South Africa is at least ten years behind in its approach to neurological rehabilitation. The Therapy & Beyond rehabilitation programme is the first of its kind on the African continent, designed to bring advanced neurological rehabilitation to ALL people.
Less than 20% of South Africans have medical aid, meaning that more than 80% of the population depends on government funding for healthcare. Currently, long-term rehabilitation is not a part of the standard of care in South Africa. With no access to long-term rehabilitation, few people reach the full potential of their physical abilities after a neurological injury or disorder. Many remain wheel chair bound with low levels of physical activity.
The Walking with Brandon Foundation and Therapy & Beyond programme strives to develop the facilities and knowledge in South Africa to properly provide for the long-term needs of all individuals with neurological conditions. Our philosophy is to first provide you with the most advanced and effective physical therapy and then help take you BEYOND what you previously thought your body is capable of.
The Therapy & Beyond rehabilitation programme can be described as a six-stage process:
Stage I – Pre-habilitation: The goal of Stage I is to prepare the individual for the intensive rehabilitation program to follow. Blood pressure control is crucial in the initial phases. Muscles in spasm/contracture cannot function in an ideal length-tension relationship and must be stretched/released. It is important to note that not all spasticity is negative; it may assist in maintaining joint stability and muscle mass in some instances. The individual must be clear of secondary complications such as pressure sores and severe autonomic dysreflexia before progressing past this stage.
Stage II – Muscle Recruitment: Regeneration of damaged nerves as well as neuroplasticity (‘re-wiring’) allows the nervous system to regain function that was lost due to injury. The nervous pathways that are used in the latter stages of rehabilitation are developed. As improvements occur within the nervous system, the participant’s ability to recruit muscle fibres improves. This stage requires intense concentration from the individual to cognitively re-connect with the neurons that activate muscular contractions.
Stage III – Posture & Joint Stability: The body cannot move effectively through single muscle contractions, it must function as a kinetic chain. Correct posture and core stability must be developed from which to generate force in the limbs. An example of posture development is sufficient lower back and abdominal support to maintain a natural curvature of the spine. An example of joint stability is sufficient co-activation of the hamstrings and quadriceps to adequately support the knee joint. This stage is crucial before a participant can become weight bearing.
Stage IV – Resistance & Endurance Training: The goal in Stage IV is to initiate muscle contractions whilst in a stable posture developed in Stage III. The strength to perform activities of daily living independently should be developed. Strength, endurance & co-ordination to facilitate a functional walking pattern are also of key importance. The therapist’s task is to help clients do the work, not to do the work for them.
Stage V – Pre-Gait: The aim within Stage V is to improve coordinated movement. The individual is in a transition as they have the function needed to move and control their legs and arms, but do not have the strength, balance, endurance and/or co-ordination to walk unaided. Proper walking technique should be developed to avoid a poor and inefficient walking pattern during the final stage.
Stage VI – Gait Training: The objective of Phase VI is to provide advanced functional walking training for participants who are able to walk with or without adaptive aids. Proper gait technique and the endurance to maintain this technique are once again emphasized. The training program in Stage IV is unique to each participant’s individual goals. While one person may want to get upright and walk in a shopping centre, another may want to go beyond that and partake in competitive sports.
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Special mention to our sponsors
Ekso Bionics is a leading developer of exoskeleton solutions that amplify human potential by supporting or enhancing strength, endurance and mobility across medical, industrial and defense applications.VISIT WEBSITE
The concept of the Sports Science Institute of South Africa (SSISA) was borne from the idea of developing sporting icons in South Africa to promote national pride and unity. The initial vision was generated after extensive interaction between Morné du Plessis, Professor Tim Noakes and Johann Rupert.VISIT WEBSITE
BeActive is a South African brand founded by Mrs Nelisa Zungu on the goals and principles to bring about an active, healthy society rooted in wellness of the mind, body and soul.
Tigoma digital is an expert digital development agency that specialises on app, web, digital signage, social media and predictive analytics.VISIT WEBSITE
Andrea Assirelli has been in the business of kitchen design for the past 32 years and has mastered the subtle art of integrating beauty and functionality.
Stirling Automotive Classic and Performance Rentals aim to deliver the ultimate vehicle experience, whether you are renting a Maserati Cabriolet or a Harley-Davidson Muscle Cruiser.VISIT WEBSITE
Friends of Walking with Brandon
ERKE is a sports and lifestyle apparel brand that specializes in the manufacturing, research and development
Lander & Pursad is a biokinetics practice that operates within the Sport Science Institute of South Africa and enjoys a close relationship with the University of Cape Town.VISIT WEBSITE
At any given time, there are at least 80 research projects underway. Funding for the research is derived from UCT, the National Research Foundation (NRF), the Training Human Resources Industry Programme (THRIP)VISIT WEBSITE
Since opening for business in 1984, Acepak has focused on offering competitively priced packaging systems ideally suited to local industry.VISIT WEBSITE
With so much going on at RioCan Sheppard Centre, there are lots of people here to help you with whatever you need.
Walking with Brandon Foundation in the news, rasing awareness....
We were recently featured on Carte Blanche. click here to watch the video online!
If you are looking for an inspirational young man, you don’t need to look much further than Brandon Beack. READ HERE:
Brandon talked on disabilities for the #YoungLeadershipProgram on CliffCentral on the 12 September 2016, featuring #NatalieduToit.