From as early as I can remember, I was always the kid who wanted to be outside building ramps, playing in the sand box, building forts, playing with my friends, but most importantly, riding my dirtbike. At the age of three my mother (Tammy Reddick) and father (Robert Reddick) took me to a local indoor motocross race. I was sitting on my dad’s shoulders to be able to see the races screaming “I do, Dad, I do!” as I’m pulling his hair. From that day forward, my motocross obsession had begun. At the age of four my parents got me a Yamaha pw-50 that I rode religiously every day as soon as I got off the school bus.
After dedicating my teenage life to motocross, on October 16, 2011, at the age of 17 while practicing, I had a crash that broke my T6 and T7 vertebra, leaving me paralyzed from the chest down. Shortly after I had been released by my surgeon I had began to test myself by riding a smaller dirtbike again. Being accomplished at that, I decided to go ahead and get back on the iron pony again and give it another shot. Everyone I had supporting me after my injury encouraged me to start riding and racing again. The summer of 2012 I was back at it, just like I had been after every other one of my injuries.
After that year of riding, I realized it’s not exactly practical for me. So my parents and I talked to a friend of mine who is also paralyzed, that races Polaris Rzr’s. I rode his Rzr and was amazed by how much it felt just like racing again. With my parents help I traded my bike in and got myself a Rzr. I have not, and refuse to let my injury slow me down.
Indego's impact on my life
I then learned through a friend about a type of technology that allowed paraplegics to walk and found a clinical trial for the Indego. I eagerly applied for the trial at the Shepherd Center in Atlanta, Georgia, to try and get the opportunity to experience this for myself. I knew that it was about an eleven-hour drive, but to me, the ability to walk again was worth it. Upon completion of the trial, I had gotten a call from Parker Hannifin asking me if I would be interested to come and tour the facility where they presented me with the incredible opportunity to demonstrate the device at various medical conventions and rehab centers around the world.
As of now, I am currently a Senior at Kent State University in the College of Business. I am at peace with my situation as a motor complete T7 paraplegic. I actually like to think that it was one of the best things to ever happen to me because of the opportunities it has presented me with. I am blessed with having the great health and function in which I do that allows me to use a device like the Indego.
This type of technology is absolutely ideal in my opinion because it is something that gives me the same feeling as racing my dirtbike. I am constantly thinking of ways that I can improve while using the device, and can only imagine the endless options this device can offer to others in the same situation. As mentioned, I only demonstrate the device, meaning I only get to use the device sporadically for the purpose of medical convention and conference presentations. I go months, sometimes even a year before I have another opportunity to use the device.
I recently had the opportunity to visit Dubai as part of the Indego team to bring awareness to the device in the United Arab Emirates. This was a beyond astounding experience in which I got to meet a lot of incredible people. Something that I found even more beautiful than the city itself, is the faith and humanity of every single person that I had the pleasure of talking with. Everyone was so welcoming and friendly to me walking, it was quite overwhelming. I have never met such nice people in my life. While in Dubai, I got the opportunity to walk in front of the Burj Khalifa, while taking in the breathtaking architecture and famous fountain. This was such as surreal experience that would not have been possible without the assistance of the Indego. In fact, I would have missed out on a lot of this experience as I would have not been able to see over all the people and railing along the fountain to fully enjoy the incredible display.
I can see the amount of hope that I bring every time that I am in the device, and that is so rewarding to me. I want to show individuals in my situation and the families impacted by this that there is hope to walk again. This device is what has brought me hope. To see that there are people out there exploring something other than medicine is huge to me because in my opinion, technology like this can evolve faster than medicine with far less risk. Like I said, I am at peace and blessed to be in the situation that I am. I still have full use of my arms, great health, a wonderful fiancée, an amazing family, and am soon to graduate from college.
The Indego is seriously pushing the limits of what individuals in my same situation can do outside of a wheelchair. As of right now, this is the only definite way that a complete paraplegic can stand up and walk on their own two feet, something that I think every single paraplegic should know about. I think if others could see the joy that it brings to me when standing upright and walking, it would open the eyes to many who are struggling with their injuries and help them better cope, knowing that there is hope for the future.
Although this almost 6-year long journey has not been easy, I have been blessed with many opportunities since my injury. If I were not in this situation I would not have access to the incredible moments in which I have been so very lucky to have. I would not be able to assist in something larger than myself, giving others the chance to walk again as well. This has been a very humbling experience and I will forever be thankful for all of the people I have met along the way, and have to thank the Indego team for making a lot of this a possibility.
This article was contributed by Indego user, Ryan Reddick.