George Stewart sits in his wheelchair wearing the Indego exoskeleton. His wife Paula secures straps, checks foot placement, and centers a walker in front of him. George clicks a button on his hip and says, “We’re going green, Paula!” then leans forward and pushes up, triggering the Indego and George to stand. George exclaims, “I’m up, I’m out of this chair, I’ve got freedom again.”
George and Paula have come a long way since 2013, when George was in a work accident that left him paralyzed from the waist down after being run over by a tractor-trailer. “I spent nine weeks in the ICU, then three and a half months at the Shepherd Center in Atlanta, GA. I’ve done quite a bit of therapy to get me to this point,” George shares. “The Shepherd Center is where I first saw the Indego exoskeleton. But I was afraid that insurance wouldn’t approve it for me, so I just left it alone.”
Fast forward nearly five years to South Charleston, West Virginia.“I brought my uncle to his appointment at First Settlement Physical Therapy and saw Lyle training with the Indego exoskeleton. I learned that Lyle got insurance approval for his Indego exoskeleton because of his work injury, so I decided to try and get one too.” George presented his case and information about Indego to his insurance company, and two weeks later, he received a call telling him he was approved. “I was astonished, believe me, quite astonished!
When describing his Indego training program, George shares, “It’s been hard at times, then it eases back up. But anything you do with a spinal cord injury is going to be hard, to begin with, I don’t care what it is. I remember being at Shepherd Center flat on my back, trach in, couldn’t roll over, couldn’t sit up. Was it hard? Yeah! But with five days of therapy per week, I found ways to work through it. Same thing with Indego.”
George trained using the Indego exoskeleton five days per week for an hour per session. After mastering all the basic skills and knowledge required for Check-Off Day, George and his wife were cleared to take the Indego exoskeleton home for personal use on December 3, 2019. George grins and says, “I’ve got a Christmas surprise planned. My family lives 130 miles away, but we’re all getting together for Christmas. My Indego exoskeleton has been a well-kept secret. A hard-kept secret but a well-kept secret. Paula and I will sneak off into a separate room to put it on, then walk into the living room where the family is for quite a surprise.” George and Paula share huge smiles and laughter as they share their plans for the big day. “My mother is 91, and it will be quite a shock and surprise for her to see me standing up again. It will be quite a shock for everyone! What their reactions will be, I have no idea.”
“My daughter graduates from nursing school in July of next year. My plan is to walk across that stage and be the one who gets to pin on her nursing pin at graduation. What better place to showcase the Indego personal exoskeleton”, George exclaims, “than in front of all the doctors and nurses in the crowd at graduation.”
As George and Paula pack up their Indego exoskeleton to take it home for the first time, George shares, “I think the Indego will give me longevity. It will keep me from sitting, it will keep me moving. Even at 70 or 75 years old. Now I can get up, and I can stay up! I can drink a cup of coffee while I’m standing. I can change the light bulbs in the house. Now I can look at somebody eye to eye, rather than always looking up. That makes a big difference. That’s one of the best things about it.”
When asked if there’s anything special he wants people considering the Indego exoskeleton to know, George states, “Definitely go for it! I’d sit down with anybody and share my story with them and answer any of their questions. It’s been a great experience, and I look forward to even better experiences now that we’re taking it home.”
The Indego Difference
Indego is a leading exoskeleton provider that focuses on personal and clinical mobility rehabilitation solutions. Our exoskeletons use proprietary software that is customizable to the patient’s needs and goals. Furthermore, our solutions are designed to be intuitive and easy to use in any environment.