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Charlottesville Veteran Benefits from Prosthetic Technology - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Charlottesville Veteran Benefits from Advanced Prosthetic Technology

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Donald Crosby at the gym Donald Crosby at the gym

War veterans who lose a limb during battle can have a hard time adjusting to basic activities in everyday life. A new, high-tech prosthesis is making that transition a lot easier for one Charlottesville veteran.

Prosthetic technology has changed greatly over time. Don Crosby is one of the first in the United States to benefit from this advanced technology and he says it's improving his quality of life.     

"Two weeks ago was the first time I'd actually had a swim in water with two legs," said Crosby.

Crosby has worn a prosthetic leg for more than 40 years.

"I was injured in Vietnam - gunshot wound - caused me to lose the leg above the knee, what's called the left above the knee, AK.  That was in December 1970," said Crosby.

Crosby is the first veteran on the East Coast to get a new Ottobock x-3 microprocessor controlled knee.

"The very first prosthesis that I had and part of the reason why I call it Woody - the very first one was made out of Balsa wood and it had essentially a door hinge and screw for friction on it," said Crosby.

The new prosthesis is making exercise easier.

"I've had this for 40 years and gone from the early technology, the caveman technology, to the chip.  The chip allows me - I work out typically 5 mornings a week.  I'll do the track, I'll the treadmill, I'll do the bicycle.  One day a week, I'll do a swim class," said Crosby.

Crosby's high-tech knee unit is paired up with a remote control using Bluetooth. The device has six different modes and takes measurements 100 times a second.

"Don is a great example of what a high-tech knee of this type can do for people.  He's highly motivated and highly active and intelligent and when you bring those things together with technology of this type, you get excellent results," said Don Payne.

The new limb is giving Crosby a new lease on life.

"Before where I couldn't go in the water.  Now my grandkids are coming home from being overseas for two years, I can take them to the wading pool.  I can walk the beach, which I couldn't do before.  I can take it into swim class, which I couldn't do before," said Crosby.

Crosby was able to get his prosthesis through the Department of Veteran Affairs. The knee unit itself costs about $48,000.

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