Robotic suit helps local disabled veterans walk again

Published: Jul. 7, 2022 at 6:38 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - The staff at Charlie Norwood Veterans Affairs Medical Center works daily to care for the men and women who sacrificed for our country.

They are helping veterans who face the reality of the possibility of not walking again.

The VA’s new cutting-edge exoskeleton therapy is changing their lives one step at a time.

For 73-year-old Air Force veteran Eddie Wicker, he travels more than an hour to the VA for his exoskeleton training.

“It was a little scary,” says Wicker.

He’s talking about the first time he walked again in more than nine years. Wicker fell off a ladder at his home.

“I have no motion in my legs or from the waist down,” says Wicker.

The robotic suit straps into place around his waist and down his legs, then it allows him to stand up on his own.

Matthew Boundes, Charlie Norwood VA, said: “The technology that’s coming out, it’s becoming lighter. It’s becoming easier to manage and operate.”

They say it’s for veterans who have suffered severe spinal cord injuries. These veterans go through extensive training. In the end, these devices will go home with them.

“Sitting in a chair and looking up at people just gives you a different perspective on life. We take for granted the fact that we can stand and look people eye to eye,” says Boundes.

Watching veterans like Wicker take steps down the hall is why the doctors are there.

“You can’t really put a price on giving someone the ability to walk,” says Boundes.

It’s giving a new start to those who have lost a lot.

They say if you are a veteran and you’re interested in using one of these exoskeletons, you can reach out to your doctor with the VA.

Wicker said: “It’s all over. It’s not all over. It’s not all over. It can be the beginning.”

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