East Texas man paralyzed since 2009 can now feel and move his le - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

East Texas man paralyzed since 2009 can now feel and move his legs

MOUNT PLEASANT, TX (KLTV) - An East Texas man who was paralyzed from the chest down in 2009 can now feel and move his legs. 

Kent Stephenson is from Mount Pleasant. He broke his back in a motocross accident almost five years ago.

Stephenson says he thought his life had changed forever. "I was told I would never move anything again, I would never feel from my chest down ever again," he recalls.

He believed that news at first, but was quickly approached by a team of researchers who wanted to try something new called epidural stimulation. 

"I went home and I talked it over with my family. I had a lot of prayer about it at church and that's where I kind of got my next movement that gave me the reassurance that that was the next thing that I was supposed to do," Stephenson says. 

He went through the procedure in 2011. Doctors implanted an electrical device in his back.

He was not expecting any results, so when his legs moved, Stephenson says he was blown away, "It was an overwhelming just amazement. My mom was in the room; she burst into tears."

Three other men also got the implant. They were unable to discuss their progress until their study was posted in the British journal Brain earlier this week. 

 "We just keep coming up with new things to challenge each other and we have a great team," Stephenson says about the other study participants. 

Now Stephenson can do all kinds of things.

"I can do standing. I can flex my toes ankles and legs. I can extend my legs ... There's really not a word to describe what it really means to me. It's just given me back my life and it's amazing."

Stephenson says there is no telling what the future holds because he continues to push the limits and exceed what doctors thought was ever possible for him to achieve. 

This is not the first time electrical stimulation has helped paralyzed patients, but experts say this technique is opening up new possibilities for treatment. 

The Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation helped fund the study that is helping Kent Stephenson. If you would like to donate money to their spinal cord research, click here

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