8 years ago, Bill Kochevar's life changed drastically. While on a 150-mile bike ride, Bill collided with a mail truck; the accident resulted in him becoming a quadriplegic. Bill thought he'd never be able to move or do anything on his own again.... but he was wrong. Bill's story is proof that medical technology is doing amazing things to help people every day!
Thanks to the work of these researchers, Bill's now able to take a drink of coffee and feed himself! It may seem like a little thing to us, but it's huge for Bill. "It meant a lot to me because I could move my arm again when I thought that was never going to happen."
Bill is believed to be the first person with quadriplegia in the world to have arm and hand movements restored with the help of two temporarily implanted technologies. The restoration is due to a brain-computer interface with recording electrodes under his skull, and a functional electrical stimulation (FES) system, which activates his arm and hand and essentially reconnects his brain to his paralyzed muscles.
Bill is the focal point of research being done by a consortium of academic and VA institutions and is part of the ongoing "BrainGate2" pilot clinical trial being conducted in association with Case Western Reserve University, Massachusetts General Hospital, the Louis Stokes Cleveland VA Medical Center, and the University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center. Bill is one of 10 people with paralysis across the country who's assessing the safety and feasibility of the implanted brain-computer interface (BCI). So far it has had great success! This technology could potentially change people's lives just like it changed Bill's!
"I may not fully benefit from this research, but I firmly believe that someone else will down the road," says Bill.
This HooplaHa original video was produced by Lucia Nazzaro, shot by Yaroslavl Soltys, and edited by Richard M. Tarantino. To see more good news, follow us on Facebook and sign up for our Only Good News Newsletter.