Watch heartwarming video of vet walks for the first time in 30 years:
Video Credit: Facebook/CBS News
A heartwarming video of a paralyzed veteran walking for the first time in 30 years is going viral on the Internet.
Air Force veteran Dean Juntunen from Michigan used to work as a missile launch officer with ICBM.
The 59-year-old was left paralyzed in 1991 after he fell from 30-foot while removing a rope swing from a tree.
Though his lower body was paralyzed, he took part in various wheelchair races. He participated in 91 marathons.
Milwaukee’s Zablocki Veteran Affairs Medical Center’s spinal cord injury clinic was conducting a study to see if robotic exoskeletons affect users’ lives across various metrics.
When they asked him if he wanted to walk again, Juntunen instantly agreed and was strapped into a metal frame. He walked using robotic legs after 30 years.
“I had not gone from a sitting to a standing position since 1991, so just doing that is fun. It’s fun to from sitting to standing and then I start walking with the robot and I can’t really feel it or control it.”
“I’ve got a complete spinal cord injury, so I’m paralyzed from the rib-cage down, basically, ” Juntunen said.
“When I’m walking with that robot, my mind feels like I’m walking. But in actuality, it’s more that I’m riding the robot than actually walking.”
Zach Hodgson, who trains Juntunen on the machine, said, “He likens it to walking on stilts because he’s paralyzed and he can’t feel his legs. The computer walks for him.”
“Dean has discovered it’s more of a workout than he expected, and he loves workouts,” said a physical therapist, Cheryl Lasselle.
Exoskeleton project manager Joe Berman said:
“The sky is literally the limit. We’re excited about helping veterans get up and sometimes tower over us.”
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