San Diego

Exoskeleton Device Donated to San Diego VA Will Help Rehabbing Vets

An incredibly expensive device just gifted to the San Diego VA will help literally lift up our injured veterans.

The device is called an Indego Therapy Exoskeleton made by a company called Parker.

It’s a device spinal cord injury patients wear that allows them to sit, stand and walk without a wheelchair. Veterans like Isaac Lopez say it gives them hope for a more independent future.

“This is something I never thought I'd see again, so it's a life changer,” he said.

Lopez enlisted in the United States Coast Guard because he wanted to fight drug trafficking in Florida. But shortly after he completed boot camp in 2015, a spinal cord-deteriorating disease left him in a wheelchair.

“It just kinda happened over night. Just slowly lost the ability to walk,” he said. The eager teen from Hemet feared he'd never walk again.

Will Davis, a physical therapist at the VA, helps patients like Lopez use the exoskeleton for rehabilitation.

“It basically gives them back their independence. And that's the main reason why do almost everything here,” Davis said.

On Monday, the nonprofit SoldierStrong donated a $130,000 exoskeleton to the VA in La Jolla. The hospital now has two it can use to help local veterans.

SoldierStrong says it has donated 21 exoskeletons, 17 of which have gone to the VA system.

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