Many of us know veterans that have experienced life altering spinal cord injuries or paralysis, either during their time in service or upon their return home. So many are often told that they will never walk again and will spend the rest of their lives in wheelchairs. Veteran and farmer Matt Ross was told the same thing after he was crushed by a backhoe while fixing a broken water line on his property. Ross struggled with doing many of the things that he had been able to do before he broke his back. While seeking guidance at several VA Hospitals, he refused to accept that he couldn’t “change his future” and “move forward” by walking again and escorting his daughter down the aisle at her wedding.
Ross started his journey of moving forward when he began physical therapy at the Minneapolis VA and was introduced to an exoskeleton, a state-of-the-art rehabilitation device, equipment which veterans are prescribed rehab time in while receiving spinal, stroke or Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) therapy.
The exoskeleton, donated to VA Hospitals across the country by national non-profit organization SoldierStrong, can help even those who are paraplegic learn how to sit, walk, turn and regain their balance again. In addition to walking, use of the exoskeleton has also enabled Ross to continue to farm, drive and work at his gun shop.
According to research completed by the VA, it is estimated that spinal cord injuries affect more than 250,000 individuals. Through donations made by SoldierStrong, 22 medical facilities and counting, 18 of which are VA Hospitals, have access to exoskeletons to help the rehabilitation of those with spinal cord injuries like Matt Ross.
Learn more about Matt Ross’s rehabilitation journey today.