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New Technology Allows Wheelchair-Bound A Chance To Walk Again

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Amanda Boxtel uses eLEGS to walk years after she was paralyzed in a ski crash. (credit: CBS)

Amanda Boxtel uses eLEGS to walk years after she was paralyzed in a ski crash. (credit: CBS)

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ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (CBS4)- A new technology at Craig Hospital is giving those usually bound to a wheelchair a chance to walk again. It’s called “eLEGS.”

“It’s euphoric to be able to stand up,” said paraplegic Amanda Boxtel.

Boxtel normally gets around in a wheelchair. Nineteen years ago, a ski crash left her legs paralyzed.

The eLEGS are robotic supports that help the patient actually take steps.

Craig Hospital is just one of ten hospitals across the country participating in the preliminary studies.

The manufacturer is Berkeley Bioncis, actually testing the real wearable robot on paraplegic patients.

“You know most of our individuals with injuries were very active before their injury. That’s usually how they get hurt. It gets those people back in a position where they’re actively using their body and moving it. It makes them feel more like themselves,” said Craig Hospital Dir. of Physical Therapy Candy Tefertiller.

“To go to a cocktail party, and not feel dwarfed and clausterphobic, but to be on eye level,” said Boxtel.

The company said recent advancements in lighter motors and better batteries to power them have been key to creating this therapeutic set up.

For now, a helper runs the robot. Boxtel is helping Berkeley Bionics develop eLEGS that a person would use independently in day to day life.

“Each time I do it, I think, gosh, this is cool!” said Boxtel. “It never gets old.”

Boxtel is still an avid outdoorswoman, for now using variations on a wheelchair for her adventures. She is dreaming of one day soon being able to use eLEGS to once again hike in the Colorado mountains on her own two feet.

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