University of Louisville Study Helped Paralyzed Man Walk

A motorcycle accident in 2007 left Louisville resident Andrew Meas with a spinal-cord injury that paralyzed him from the chest down. Meas, 35, who had been an electronics technician and a “pretty physical guy” before the accident, he suddenly found himself incapable of moving his legs. He was unable to bathe and dress himself.

Related: Basic Motorcycle Safety Tips Every Rider Should Know

Ground breaking technology
A ground breaking University of Louisville study helped Meas move his legs, control his body and be independent once more. He was supported by an electronic device that stimulates the spinal cord. With rehabilitation, this will eventually give him abilities he thought were lost forever. Meas is one of four paralyzed men who underwent the surgery that was part of the study. All of them had regained the ability to move. It was in 2011 when Meas was implanted with the 16-electrode stimulator. The latter applies continuous electric current at different frequencies and intensity to the lower part of the spinal cord. It is connected to an impulse generator that is wirelessly controlled by researchers or the patient.

Today, Meas can now move his legs up and down. He can also pull his knees to his chest. He can also move his limbs when the simulator is off with extra effort. I am glad that Meas was able to recover from the accident, and I hope that a few years from now, he’ll be able to walk again. May he continue to give hope to other people who are in the same situation. I would also like to congratulate the University of Louisville for a job well done.

Meas 2007 motorcycle accident
On September 6, 2007, Meas was riding his motorcycle on his way home when a car driven by an elderly man tried to cross four lanes of traffic on Shelbyville Road and hit Meas head on. The crash caused damage to his sixth and seventh cervical vertebrae near the top of his spine and broke his right femur. A part of his right thumb was also lost. According to Meas, he would not have survived if he had not been wearing his helmet.

Related: Motorcycle Deaths Down In 2013, Overall Safety Still Improving

As a Kentucky Motorcycle Accident Attorney, I want to emphasize that helmets can save lives. Here are some statistics to support this fact:

  • National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that helmets saved the lives of 1,550 motorcyclists in 2010. NHTSA added that if all victims had worn helmets, 706 more lives could have been saved.
  • NHTSA stated helmets reduce motorcycle rider fatalities by 22 to 37% and brain injuries by 44 to 65%.
  • There were 1,490 motorcycle injuries and 96 fatalities in Kentucky in 2012. Of those injured, 792 were not wearing a helmet. Of those killed, 59 were not wearing a helmet.

With these in mind, I encourage all motorcyclists to wear helmets every time you go for a ride. In Kentucky, anyone under the age of 21 is required to wear a helmet at all times. Non-compliance with the law can lead to penalties amounting to $20-$100 and even a 60-day suspension of license. While helmets aren't required for riders 21-years-old and older, you should still wear a helmet. It can mean the difference between life and death.

Michael Schafer
The Personal Injury Attorney for Louisville and Kentucky
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