Entries in Motorcycle Crash (2)


Quadriplegic Able to Touch Girlfriend, Thanks to Robotic Arm

Chad Baker/Thinkstock(PITTSBURGH) -- It’s a moment that many men take for granted, but for Tim Hemmes, touching his girlfriend’s hand was something he couldn’t do for seven years.

Hemmes, 30, was in a motorcycle accident that left him paralyzed from the neck down in 2004.  Although he considered himself “broken” after the accident, he always held out hope he would someday be able to experience everyday movements once again.

Back in August, Hemmes took part in a 30-day trial for an experimental new technology.  Doctors at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center gave Hemmes a robotic arm that he could control using his mind.

Through an electrode implanted on the surface of his brain, Hemmes used his thoughts to move a ball on the computer screen, which in turn, moved the arm.

Just a few days after the surgery, after a lot of intense concentration and brain training, he was able to high-five a researcher and then share a tender moment with his girlfriend.

“Everybody cheered when I touched the researcher,” Hemmes said. “What was I feeling? That word doesn’t exist. It was just pure emotion running through me. Then my girlfriend told me to hold her hand. I have never been able to reach out to her or rub her hand.”

“We were thrilled with the progress he made during the trial,” said Dr. Michael Boninger, director of the UPMC Rehabilitation Institute and professor and chair of the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.  “When we have a patient who has a spinal cord injury or a high-level amputation, the hardest thing is to enable them to control a device.”

The technology is in its very early stages, Boninger said.

“I think the potential here in seeing [Hemmes] and his determination, and how his face lit up when he touched someone is an amazing thing,” he said. “This technology has the potential to be transformative.”

Hemmes hopes he can continue progressing toward his goal, which he says is “100 percent recovery.” While it may not have been his arm that touched his girlfriend, it was his brain that controlled the movements.

“I have to get my arms back,” he said. “I have to hug my daughter and hold her one more time.  The last person I felt before my accident was my daughter.  She was 18 months old at the time, and I laid her down to sleep.”

He wants to tell others who have suffered similar injuries that they should never give up.

“I believe this could help, and I believe there is hope.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Texas Biker Survives Shocking Motorcycle Crash

ABC News(NEW YORK) -- Surveillance video shows Texas man Zacharie Perez being smashed between two cars and thrown off of his motorcycle on a Dallas tollway.

Perez miraculously survived.

"The last thing I remember is basically just a loud noise, a loud crash and I remember landing on the ground, trying to push myself back to the left lane, so that I wouldn't get hit...Some of the witnesses came by and told me to stay down," Perez said.

The accident happened March 17.  Perez was riding in the left lane of a three-lane highway.  Perez, wearing his helmet, can be seen getting hit by a silver car.

"I was about five to 10 minutes from being home.  I passed this car, the car that actually rear ended me... As I passed them, the people in front of me started slowing down," he said.

The silver car didn't slow down, hitting the 25-year-old Army veteran and pushing him towards a green car in front of him.  Perez and his motorcycle disappear between the silver car and green car.  As the cars move, Perez can be seen rolling on the highway in pain.  A white SUV swerved to avoid hitting the man as the cars come to a stop.

The Army veteran was rushed to a nearby hospital.

"I was in excruciating pain...The spleen was ruptured.  I was bleeding internally, so they had to remove that... And then I had four broken vertebrae, I had a broken rib...I had road rash obviously.  I've got a lumbar hernia," he said.

Perez said doctors are still determining if he'll need surgery to treat his hernia.  Perez said that his helmet saved his life.  In Texas, motorcycle drivers don't have to wear helmets.

"If I wouldn't have worn my helmet, I don't think I'd be here right now.  I'd still be in the hospital or I'd probably be dead," he said.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio