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Honda Donates $1 Million to Fund Mobility Research at Nationwide Children’s Hospital

Nationwide Children’s Hospital plans to construct a first-of-its-kind facility dedicated to studying pediatric mobility, an emerging science that officials say will benefit children at all ability levels.

Officials say the center will help children born with neuromuscular diseases, as well as those who suffer injuries later in life. The center will include a gait and spine motion analysis lab, wheelchair and prosthetic development efforts, and sports performance and injury prevention programs.

The Honda Center for Gait Analysis and Mobility Enhancement will be supported by a $1 million donation from the automaker.

Most of the gift will help purchase equipment, according to Children’s officials, including 3-D motion cameras, video recorders, force platforms that measure movements from the ground and electomyographs that record electrical activity in muscle tissue.

“You won’t find another place like this, housing all these ideas within one roof,” Dr. Kevin Klingele, chief of orthopedics and surgical director of sports medicine at Children’s, said on Tuesday.

The hospital’s Dublin Sports Medicine and Orthopedic Center, 5680 Venture Drive, will temporarily house the mobility center in its second-floor gymnasium and should be operational by the year’s end.

The goal is to construct a permanent, standalone facility on the hospital’s main campus, said Patty McClimon, Children’s senior vice president for strategic and facilities planning.

That plan won’t start until some other ongoing projects are finished, McClimon said.

The center’s services will benefit any child with mobility issues, though officials expect primary patients will be children with cerebral palsy, spina bifida, amputations, spinal cord injuries and congenital anomalies.

Cerebral palsy is the most common motor disability in children, with nearly 10,000 new cases annually. Each year, 1,500 babies are born with spina bifida and an additional 1,500 children are admitted to hospitals with spinal cord injuries, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

An estimated 3 million children visit emergency departments with sports injuries each year.

Honda also recently pledged $750,000 for construction of “Determination Way,” a custom-designed simulated community at the hospital that provides a real-world environment where rehabilitation patients can learn how to manage daily living activities.