Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Deputy Shot by Coworker Gets Bionic Ankle - WLNS TV 6 Lansing - Jackson | Your Local News Leader

WLNS TV 6 Lansing - Jackson | Your Local News Leader

LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – A Mid-Michigan deputy who went through 11 reconstructive surgeries and a leg amputation after being shot by a coworker in 1993, got a new bionic prosthetic ankle on Monday in Lansing.

"I was shot in the line of duty by another deputy who had just gotten out of the military. [He] had been over in Desert Storm [and] had gone through some psychological issues while he was there, and those issues he brought back here with him," says Detective Sergeant Mike Coon of the Clare County Sheriff's Office. Coon says his coworker was a part-time worker, and shot him on purpose to get Coon's full time job.

For 10 years after the shooting, Coon suffered – having to take a host of medications to help alleviate the severe pain. He also had 11 surgeries, but decided in 2003 to have his leg amputated. "In order to get rid of the pain, get rid of the meds, I opted to have my leg taken off," says Coon.

At that point, Coon got a prosthetic leg and returned to work. "Since I went back to work, I've been in five foot chases and caught all five people," says Coon. "I had to learn how to run short-gaited gaited, so I could run on my toes."

But that changed on Monday when Coon was fitted for a bionic ankle at Springer Prosthetics and Orthotic Services, Inc. "Now with this iWalk, I can stretch my gait back out again and learn how to run again," says Coon.

According to Springer Prosthetics, the iWalk BiOM is the first bionic leg system that uses technology to imitate the natural action of the foot.

"When you lose your leg, your foot below the knee – you lose your Achilles tendon, your calf muscles," says Jeff Gerber, regional director for iWalk. "The idea is that through robotics, through really smart technology, we can recreate the power of the lost Achilles tendon."

Gerber says the BiOM was developed at MIT by a bilateral, below-the-knee amputee. He says the BiOM has a brushless DC motor, a threaded drive and a carbon fiber spring and multiple sensors that read the loads that the amputee is putting in and then gives the correct power output.

The prosthetic is used in connection with an Android application that tunes the ankle. Once the ankle is tuned according to the patient's weight and other properties, it will adjust automatically as the patient changes terrain, speeds or activities.

The device costs more than $50,000, and is often used by veterans who've lost limbs in the line of duty.

Emerald Morrow is a reporter with WLNS-TV. Reach out to her on Facebook, Twitter or email at

No comments:

Post a Comment