While there are devices to help cerebral palsy sufferers walk (such as orthotics), it seemed to OT David Blaski, that there wasn’t anything comparable to assist in swimming. So one day he sat down at Franciscan Omni Health and Fitness–Schererville and, along with the help of his brother Kevin Blaski, set out to construct an apparatus for the pool that would compensate for cerebral palsy patients’ muscle tone loss.
The device – now known as the Aquatic Stabilizer Apparatus – was developed and subsequently patented around five years ago, but has yet to be sold. It assists with the body, providing for better use of the arms and legs. The most important part of the construction was developing the correct formula for buoyancy. It has resistance devices to build strength which can be used by regular swimmers. Right now, four Franciscan Omni Health and Fitness–Schererville patients use the apparatus as part of their aquatic therapy. When it was first used, Blaski said it was truly incredible, seeing a child with cerebral palsy who before the apparatus had been unable to ambulate, suddenly be able to tread water. So successful has this been, that Maddak – the largest U.S. manufacturer of assistive devices and other rehabilitation products – awarded Blaski’s tool the 38th annual Maddak “best innovation of the year” award. Now Blaski just has to find an established company to manufacture and sell the apparatus to the general public.