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Juliano, Miguel and the Symbolic Brazil 2014 World Cup Kick Off

View profile for Jon Rees
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The Brazil 2014 World Cup has kicked off and the names of Juliano Pinto and Miguel Nicolelis featured in news articles that tweeted their way around the world.

Juliano performed the symbolic kick off. Miguel (and others) helped.

Juliano is unable to walk as a result of a spinal cord injury. Miguel (Dr Nicolelis) is a Brazilian neuroscientist based in America who created the robotic exoskeleton suit Juliano used to stand, walk and kick the ball during the opening ceremony.

Blink and you might have missed it though: a shame as more might have been made of it.

Reading BBC news articles this morning which covered this aspect of the opening ceremony’s story and watching the interesting piece by the BBC’s Disability Affairs correspondent Nikki Fox (and what a breath of fresh air Nikki is) – was really thought provoking.

The science, the potential, the possibilities, the hopes and the dreams; but also the likely limitations, and, perhaps most interestingly: the day to day realities and priorities of those who you might assume would be particularly interested in this, makes this an area of huge interest.

The Longitude Prize 2014 (a challenge with a £10 million prize fund to help solve one of the greatest issues of our time) is also attracting interest in this area. Paralysis is one of the six challenges highlighted and it is still not too late to vote and have a say in where the research prize will be directed. Voting closes at 7.10pm on 25th June 2014 – follow this link to read more (and to vote).