Prosthetic limbs are closer to the real thing than ever before. A new breakthrough is helping amputees walk with more confidence.
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Host: Nineteen-year-old Jordan Wells and Ashley Younger were on their way to meet friends, when Jordan lost control of the car. Jordan Wells: A hydroplane went across the median and a tree and then went on in the ongoing traffic. Host: Rescuers pulled them out of the car and loaded then into a Medivac helicopter for a 25-mile flight to the nearest ER. Jordan Wells: I was thrown forward and hit the ground and it just kind of all crashed together and the pieces of it and part of it fell on my leg or crashed on my leg then the big tree fell on top of that. Host: She woke up in the woods, cold, in pain, and alone. Two hours later, rescuers found the wreckage. Five people were on board the chopper including Ashley. Jordan was the only survivor. Jordan Wells: They have my body on this broken board. My legs are straight but both my feet were hanging off the side of the board with the skin. Host: After 20 surgeries, one leg amputation, three months in the hospital and a year of therapy, Jordan walks using a new bionic leg. Phil Hewett: For the first time, we actually have one, a device that’s interactive with the patient. It is actually changing as the patient changes. Host: Traditional prosthetic legs are static as the patient moves. Jordan’s legs senses how fast she is moving and then loosens or tightens to make each stride more comfortable. Phil Hewett: It now consents much like what the Wii game does and has also been sensors on board, so it knows if the patient is walking, running, or jumping. Host: Bluetooth technology sends information from the leg to a palm pilot that helps the doctor design a personalized fit for each person. Phil Hewett: Patients tell us that it feels like it is connected. It’s like part of them and it is interacting as they interact. It’s truly what the future is. Host: Losing a limb no longer means losing your independence. Jordan Wells: There’s nothing you can do about the past, so live today. These are the cards you’ve been dealt, so pick them up and play them. Host: I’m Allysa Medelly reporting.