Students Develop Device To Let Stroke-Victim Grandfather Hug His Grandkids

'HugAgain' device
Facebook | HugAgain

Most of us can probably agree that there's nothing quite like a good hug. Indeed, the physical comfort afforded by a hug has genuine, tangible health benefits. Heck, even seeing loved ones embrace can lift your spirits. And it's especially true for grandparents and their grandkids.

A group of students has created a simple device to allow those with mobility issues to hug once again.

Hugging isn't possible for those who have lost motor function.

Grandfather holding grandchild
Unsplash | Johnny Cohen

Those who have experienced a stroke or degenerative disease like Parkinson's may find themselves unable to hug their loved ones. In fact, it was a personal story that inspired the students to create their device.

Occupational therapy assistant students created the HugAgain.

Inventors of 'HugAgain' holding their product
Facebook | HugAgain

Erica Dexter, Larissa Garcia, Lisa James and Casey Parsons — all students at Arkansas State University — developed the HugAgain as part of a class assignment. Professor Emily Sisco asked them to create adaptive equipment to help her father, Kevin Eubanks, who'd had a stroke (no, not that Kevin Eubanks).

It's a simple device.

'HugAgain' device
Facebook | HugAgain

The HugAgain is effectively just a strap. Once it's attached to the hugger's weak arm with velcro, they can grab the other end with their strong arm to properly complete the hug. It's elegant in its simplicity.

Eubanks really missed hugging.

'HugAgain' device
Facebook | HugAgain

The students didn't come up with the concept immediately. They interviewed Eubanks to ask what he missed.

"He answered things like fishing and grilling, but then he said, 'I miss hugging people with two hands," Dexter told Southern Living.

Here's the HugAgain in action.

You can really see here how happy Keving Eubanks is to be able to give his grandkids a proper hug for the first time since his stroke. His reaction has since gone viral on Twitter.

His daughter was overjoyed.

Emily Sisco — the prof who tasked the students with the assignment — chimed in to express her happiness with how things have turned out for her dad. It's incredible how a simple strap has helped so much.

Others shared their thoughts on hugging.

This Twitter user threw some shade at her daughter for not being the huggy type, but that's likely just a phase. In the big picture, most people can benefit from a hug — particularly people like Kevin Eubanks.

This device is just a prototype.

'HugAgain' device
Facebook | HugAgain

The students still have to develop a way to scale up after the positive reaction to their prototype. But they're now hard at work on creating a version that can be delivered to the mass market.

What do you think of this story?

Grandmother hugging granddaughter
Unsplash | Ekaterina Shakharova

Most of us don't know what it's like to lose the ability to hug a loved one, but for those who've experienced motor impairments, it must feel like a huge loss. Be sure to let us know your thoughts in the comments!

h/t: HugAgain