Exoskeleton Helps Cambridgeshire Man Get Life Back On Track After Spinal Injury Suffered On Holiday
A man who suffered a severe spinal injury when he was hit by a car while riding a bike on holiday in Portugal seven years ago has spoken of his joy at getting his life back on track despite being left disabled.
Jason Miller, 50, was told he would never walk again after he broke all his ribs, both his legs and suffered a spinal cord injury when he was hit by a car while cycling during a family holiday in Portugal in October 2012. He instructed specialist serious injury lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to help him to access vital treatment to assist with his rehabilitation so that he could get back to enjoying life with his wife and two daughters.
Jason, from Littleport, Cambridgeshire, had weeks of hospital treatment in Lisbon and Cambridge followed by several months of specialist support at the spinal unit in the Northern General Hospital, Sheffield, before a discussion with his doctors had a profound effect on his mindset and he became determined to make the most of life.
He now uses an exoskeleton suit to walk independently for a few hours a week and runs a coach company with his brother.
Jason explains: “The specialists were quite realistic when talking about the pressures that families can face as a result of serious injuries. My family means everything to me so I was then determined to do everything I possibly could to get my life back on track. I marked the date I was expected to leave hospital in my diary and used that as a target to push forward with my recovery.”
Jason’s determined attitude was highlighted by his decision to head back to work at the coach company he runs with his brother just a day after he returned home. His family made adaptations to the business so he could do his job and he loves nothing more than getting in a bus to do the school run every day.
Jason said: “Not many people get too excited about doing the school run, but it’s one of those things that I have a whole new perspective on, after what I’ve been through.
“It’s an absolute joy to see all of the kids and it really lifts my mood. Getting out and driving the bus is something that I never thought I would be able to do again, so having that responsibility and the chance to work means the world to me.”
A huge part of Jason’s life is working out at the gym – something he does at least three times a week with his personal trainer.
“Hero’s Gym in Kings Lynn has been an incredible support, I can go with my personal trainer or I go alone and know that someone will always be willing to help if I need it.
“Working out at the gym keeps my mind and body in shape for all the challenges I set myself. I’m constantly looking for new things to do – recently a friend of mine put my name down for the Paris Half Marathon, thinking I wouldn’t do it, and of course I did!”
Perhaps the biggest change to Jason’s life came when his exoskeleton arrived. This is a powered frame which allows him to walk independently for short periods of time. The funding for this along with his specialist rehabilitation care was secured by his legal team at Irwin Mitchell, whose Asset Management team also now look after his finances, so he can spend every day focusing on what really matters.
Now Jason is also starring in Irwin Mitchell’s I am able campaign which tells the stories of how people who have suffered injury and illness have been able to get their lives back on track with specialist help and support.
Jason said: “Being able to walk again is just amazing, especially together with my family. It has already allowed me to do so much, from simple tasks around the house to standing and enjoying a glass of champagne with my wife during a cruise. I’m really looking forward to being able to walk both my daughters down the aisle.
“Considering what happened seven years ago, I just feel so lucky to be in the position that I am today. I feel like I’m able to live life to the full and I’m determined to ensure nothing holds me back in the future.”
Expert Opinion“Jason has shown immense courage and self-belief to get back to the level of engagement he has in the local community and with his family. We know from experience how tough it can be to go from being incredibly active to suffering severe spinal injuries.
“But Jason was determined not to let it stop him and he now goes to the gym, runs a business, takes part in disability sports and one day will be able to walk his daughters down the aisle. We’re very proud to have helped him to be able to achieve these things which in those first few weeks following his accident may have seemed impossible.” Bronwen Lancaster - Associate Director