Massachusetts

Mass. Army Veteran Who Was Paralyzed Hopes to Inspire Others After Decades of Rehab

Retired Army Colonel Jim Bedingfield, of Reading, shared his story hoping to motivate others in similar situations to ask for help.

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An Army veteran in Reading, Massachusetts, who was injured years ago in the line of duty, is hoping to motivate others in his shoes to ask for help.

Jim Bedingfield's story is one of recovery and hope.

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For the retired colonel, it's been nearly three decades of re-learning how to put one foot in front of the other. His rehab journey began back in 1994 after a spinal cord injury in the Army left him paralyzed.

"I had to learn how to walk again, had to learn how to use my arms and hands,” he shared.

But now, Bedingfield is doing a lot more than just walking thanks to a functional electrical stimulation leg device from a company called Bioness.

“For the first in 30 years since pre-injury I skied. For the first time in 40 years since pre-injury, I golfed. And those are things I just never thought I could do again," he shared.

Now 61, Bedingfield is able to take on a range of adaptive sports.

“It allows me to stimulate the nerves which better enable the muscles,” he explained.

He credits the device but also a holistic healing approach from the VA, giving him hope and opportunities that he didn't know he had.

“It’s a whole body and whole mind wellness approach. It’s not one or the other,” he said. "Absolutely life-changing. In all aspects.”

Now, this veteran has a new mission -- to motivate others stuck in life's trenches to ask for help.

“You deserve it, you’ve given something to your country, to your family, you deserve it,” he said.

It's a cause that Bedingfield says will always be worth fighting for.

“There’s hope and there’s help for you and if this gets to one person and helps one veteran it will absolutely be worth every shred of vulnerability and openness that I might be sharing with you here.”

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