|Preparing the muscles of a paraplegic for the Dakar Rally|
(Dec 2008) A Walloon start-up company has developed a highly specialised programme to stimulate the muscles of Isidre Esteve, European and Spanish champion in endurance motoring.
Isidre took part in ten Dakar Rallies and came fourth on two occasions. On the 24th of March 2007, he had an accident during the Almeria Rally, sustaining injuries to the spinal column and cord, resulting in irreversible and marked paraplegia. Unbowed, Isidre resumed training a year ago, with his goal being an incredible challenge: to take part in the Dakar Rally again, but this time as a car driver.
The weight of the body in the seated position during long days behind the wheel crushes the gluteal muscles. This prolonged compression of paralysed muscles causes ischaemia and muscular injuries, which can result in drivers having to abandon the race.
Isidre contacted the medical department of STX-Med, the Walloon company based in the Science Park of Liège that developed the Cefaly® (www.cefaly.com), the first cranial electrotherapy device for the treatment and prevention of migraines. STX-Med has unique expertise in pain control and muscular neuro-stimulation.
One of the representatives of STX-Med’s medical division travelled to Barcelona. He carried out a series of tests to enable Isidre’s paralysed muscles to contract again. Afterwards, highly specific parameters were programmed into a neuro-stimulation device designed by the STX-Med team. Isidre carries out a stimulation session every day to keep his gluteal muscles active and to prepare them for the race. During the race, he will continue his neuro-stimulation sessions daily at each stopover.