On June 1, 2013, 16-year-old Will Hutchins was involved in a car accident that left him paralyzed with a T8 spinal cord injury (SCI). Today, Will is able to walk again with the help of Ekso Indego Personal and the PTs at Shepherd Center in Atlanta, Georgia.
Will was a participant in the clinical trial that enabled the Indego Personal to be made commercially available in the United States and Europe. Will continues to support the team as a subject for potential Indego functionalities such as Functional Electrical Stimulation (FES) and is prominently featured in marketing materials. The following is a transcript from an interview with Will about his experience with Ekso Indego Personal thus far.
How and when did you hear about Ekso Indego Personal?
WH: Someone at Shepherd told me about Ekso Indego Personal, but I was too young at the time to try it. Very shortly after I turned 18, I was offered the opportunity to participate in an Indego study.
Describe some of your feelings/emotions when you first walked using Ekso Indego Personal.
WH: I was blown away. To have the opportunity to walk again was amazing. My girlfriend Kaci liked it as well. She was with me in the car during the horrible car accident, and she supported me during my rehabilitation at Shepherd Center.
What was it like being able to walk with your classmates at your high school graduation?
WH: It was always my goal to walk again and be on the stage with my peers. Thanks to Indego, this dream came true. I was very nervous as it was the first time that I walked with Indego in front of so many people. When I walked up the ramp, it was super quiet, but when I got up to the stage, people started to stand up and cheer. I am not the guy who is looking for this kind of attention, but I am very thankful that I was given the chance to walk during my graduation.
Does Ekso Indego Personal replace your wheelchair?
WH: No, but it is better than sitting down constantly. It gives me another option.
How was the training/learning to walk with Ekso Indego Personal?
WH: It was pretty easy. I started with a walker, and within 30 minutes, I graduated to the crutches. I had to learn to trust the device. The device looked so slim and light that I was afraid that it wasn’t going to hold me, but it did. Now I am in the process of further improving my walking in Ekso Indego Personal.
How do you use Ekso Indego Personal today/now?
WH: I don’t have my own exoskeleton yet, but I hope to have one eventually. I would walk in the yard and would take it anywhere I could.
Does Ekso Indego Personal improve your quality of life? If yes, how so?
WH: It stretches me out, and my spasms reduce significantly after use.
What are you able to do now with Ekso Indego Personal that you weren’t able to do before?
WH: Ekso Indego Personal offers me opportunities I couldn’t imagine after my accident, such as going to a concert. This wasn’t possible with my wheelchair.
Now offered under Ekso Bionics, Ekso Indego Personal is a flagship at-home exoskeleton that is designed to help patients with spinal cord injuries walk again in their homes and community. Equipped with a modular, quick-connect design, you can put it on and take it off anytime without assistance. It’s also extra light, weighing only 29 lb (13kg), and is designed to help you take it with you anywhere you want to go. Try Ekso Indego Personal today and regain your independence. For any inquiries, reach out to us today.