Honda Donates $1 Million To Establish New Mobility Center at Nationwide Children’s Hospital

Along with Nationwide Children’s Hospital, Honda has announced a $1 million gift to establish the Honda Center for Gait Analysis and Mobility Enhancement designed to enhance pediatric mobility.

The center will become the first of its kind to provide not only comprehensive gait analysis, but also spine motion analysis, sports performance programs and injury prevention. In addition, it will become a leader in prosthetic and wheelchair development, completing its mission of improving the mobility of all children. This novel approach will seek and promote innovative ways to manage patients with cerebral palsy, spina bifida, spinal cord injury and neuromuscular disease, congenital anomalies and amputations, and any condition which may limit mobility.

Cerebral palsy is the most common motor disability in children, accounting for nearly 10,000 new cases annually. Another 1,500 babies are born with spina bifida each year and 1,500 children are admitted to hospitals with spinal cord injuries. Sports injuries account for about three million pediatric emergency department visits each year in the United States.

“We believe our philanthropic gifts should benefit the communities where our associates live and work,” said Tom Shoupe, Executive Vice President & COO of Honda of America, Mfg. at the June 20 announcement. “Children and families from throughout Ohio, many of our associates’ children, have benefitted from the care they have received at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, and this facility is a very important part of the Central Ohio community and far beyond.”

He added, “Whether motorcycles, automobiles, marine engines, aircraft, or assistive robotics, we have a long tradition of providing mobility products and so it was a natural fit to work with Nationwide Children’s on a center that would work to expand physical mobility for patients.”

In the quest to pursue innovative ways to treat conditions that impede motion, the Honda Center for Gait Analysis and Mobility Enhancement will harness pioneering technology. The center will use state-of-the art instrumentation, including advanced video recording techniques and 3D motion analysis cameras, force platforms and electromyography – the recording of the electrical activity of muscle tissue – to evaluate physically-challenged patients’ movement, abilities and limitations.

Nationwide Children’s Hospital and Honda have had a longstanding partnership dating back more than 30 years.

“This center will provide the opportunity to deliver life-changing clinical care to those patients limited in their ability to walk or run, as well as maximizing the performance and mobility for athletes of all ages,” said Kevin E. Klingele, MD, chief of Orthopaedic Surgery and surgical director of Sports Medicine at Nationwide Children’s. Klingele introduced a few of his young patients at the June 20 announcement and said, “These are the real heroes. This is why we’re here.”

Additionally, young patients at Nationwide enjoyed a special appearance by Honda’s robot, ASIMO, at the announcement. ASIMO (Advanced Step in Innovative Mobility) is the world’s most advanced humanoid robot and reflects the study of human motion and anatomy.

“He was so smart, he could kick a ball,” said Brynn Fraser, 8, a patient of Dr. Klingele’s who got a chance to dance with ASIMO. Added Brynn’s mom, Mallory, “He told me he wants an ASIMO for Christmas.”

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