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‘Everything has been unlocked’: A year later, we revisit Sisters man, first Oregonian to use Exoskeleton to walk again

(Update: Adding video)

BEND, Or. (KTVZ) -- “In 2009, I went snowboarding with some friends at night, and it was after a big snowstorm, so there was powder in the day, but it froze -- it melted and froze," Sisters resident Erik Himbert recalled. "I just was blowing off steam, and for some reason just decided to go for a jump -- and I hit it with a lot of speed."

That horrible accident resulted in Himbert shattering his T-8 vertebrae and losing his ability to walk.

NewsChannel21 reported a year ago about how Himbert had become the first Oregonian to use a ReWalk Personal Exoskeleton -- a device allowing him to stand up and walk on his own.

Now, we've checked in again with Himbert, to see how he's faring, and he shared how his quality of life has improved dramatically.

Himbert encourages others struggling with similar physical disabilities to try out the ReWalk Exoskeleton in order to feel the benefits of being upright, and explore a world where they don't need to feel trapped in their body.

“Nothing else has worked like this thing has," Himbert said. "I just feel like everything has been unlocked, and I just feel so much better. Even my ab strength has gotten a lot better."

With the approval of the FDA, the exoskeleton device is evolving to even accommodate stair-climbing, which is what Himbert is currently working on.

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Bola Gbadebo

Bola Gbadebo is a multimedia journalist for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Bola here.


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