• In the Loop: ‘I didn’t think I’d walk again’

paralyzed patient Jered Chinnock standing in physical therapy roomA snowmobiling accident left Jered Chinnock paralyzed from the middle of his torso down. He didn’t think he’d ever walk again. But now, thanks to pioneering research, he is taking steps toward reaching that goal and others. 

One beautiful winter day in February 2013, Jered Chinnock's life changed in an instant. Jered, an avid outdoorsman, was snowmobiling with friends and family when he was thrown from his machine and hit by another snowmobile. The accident left the active, independent young man with several broken ribs, a punctured lung and, most significantly, three spinal fractures. That particular injury damaged Jered's spinal cord, leaving him unable to move anything below the middle of his torso. "I didn't think I'd walk again," he recently told the Archery Trade Association.

But that changed earlier this year, when Jered became the first patient at Mayo Clinic to benefit from an ambitious research project. The goal of the initiative was to find out whether intense physical therapy, combined with electrical stimulation on the spinal cord, can help paralyzed patients regain the ability to move. Jered's goal, among other things, was to get back to the things he loved, like bowhunting, which he said helped fuel his rehabilitation sessions.

This spring, after 22 weeks of physical therapy and innovative, high-tech neurosurgery to implant a small, computer-controlled stimulator, Jered is making small strides.

Read the rest of the story and learn more about how researchers helped Jered in this video report. Researchers strive to help paralyzed man make strides.

This story originally appeared on the In the Loop blog.

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