Recovering from a devastating vehicle crash with serious injuries can be a long, uphill battle.
Isaac DeLua-Ruiz, 37, was involved in a serious motorcycle crash last January that took his ability to walk. But now, using a device called an ekso, he's re-learning to walk one step at a time.
"Split-second my life changed. I broke my fibula, tibia, T11 and T12 spine. Broke my tailbone. Broke the seventh rib," DeLua -Ruiz noted.
He was in a fixator for over half a year, which caused his legs to atrophy.
"It wasn't until eight months later that I was finally able to stand up and put weight towards my legs," he noted.
"He went from not having any sensation or motor control below his level of his spinal cord injury," said University Health System physical therapist Gabrielle Canales, who helps him get a leg up on his rehabilitation with the help of the ekso, a robotic device with braces that go around the legs and assists patients as they teach their muscles how to walk again.
"The benefits of walking in this have been dramatic for me," DeLua-Ruiz said.
"Once he builds up enough endurance, we try to increase the amount of steps we are taking in the session or we are trying to decrease the amount the machine is helping the patient," Canales explained.
"Before, I couldn't do it. I couldn't push a shopping cart. But now, I can push one of those Sam's shopping carts one-handed going through the store with my kids," DeLua-Ruiz said.
He says that he pushes himself every time he rehabs because constantly moving his muscles is the only way he's going to get a handle on his rehabilitation.
"I want to leave here tired," he said. "I want to sleep in the car tired, because then I know I'm doing something here."
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