SARASOTA-  A new leg brace is helping a polio survivor gain independence and new confidence at 70-years-old.

 “My wife would always walk at my side or right behind me,” Schaengold said. “To ensure that if I begin to stumble she can catch me, or at least give me some support.”

But 45-years after getting married, Phillip Schaengold now feels confident walking on his own. 

“The C-brace is able to sense if I’m losing balance,” Schaengold said. “If it needs to stiffen to ensure the knee does not bend, it makes your whole life totally different.”

He contracted Polio at 18-months old, and has had many falls and injuries since then. Hanger Clinic fitted him for the new intuitive C-brace.

“There is 4 sensors inside the device,” Schaengold said. “A hydraulic force sensor, a motion sensor so it works like a gyroscope essentially,  and when that person starts to initiate movement, it knows by reading that 100 times per second, it knows when to regulate resistance in the hydraulic in the knee.”

And the second generation is even more user-friendly.

“The device is now half the weight of what the original was, and the size is now half the size of the original version, which has allowed people the freedom to wear clothes more comfortable, make people a little less concerned about what they think they’re seeing.”

It also senses when a person is walking backwards or sideways, making daily tasks easier.

“For example,” Schaengold said. “Now when I’m at the refrigerator door if I step back, this brace begins functioning the way it’s supposed to.”

Giving him new freedom at 70.

“We can walk with our grandkids, we can walk with our friends, we can window shop,” Schaengold said. “I can fall behind 10-15 yards and no one has to worry about me tripping and falling because the C-brace.”

The brace can also be used for people with spinal cord injuries, multiple sclerosis, and traumatic brain injuries.