Nashville VA Medical Center one of 'a handful' of hospitals to use new type of prosthetic

Posted at 10:57 AM, Apr 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-19 12:01:22-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — As Marlon Bounds walks up and down the hallways of the Nashville VA Medical Center, you can hear and feel his excitement.

"There it is, I felt it," Bounds said while pacing up and down the hall.

The Army veteran injured his leg during his 14 years of service, and doctors amputated it in 2016 after an infection. Bounds has used a prosthetic ever since but said the one he was trying out on this day was different.

"It's a big day for me because I'm getting fitted for a new prosthetic," he said. "The new leg feels almost human."

That feeling comes because the first-of-its-kind prosthetic uses artificial intelligence to work with Marlon, helping him power up and down stair and through difficult terrain.

"I can power through tall grass and I can power up steps, it helps me sit down and it helps me raise up," he explained.

The prosthetic was created by the Icelandic company Ossur.

"There's actual power that he's feeling that's driving the mechanisms in the knee, and along with the AI, it's picking up signals from him to help him regain his gait symmetry," Ossur Regional Sales Manager George Lara said.

The tool is going through field testing, making Bounds one of the first to have this type of prosthetic.

"There's only a handful of people out there who have this type of prosthetic," Lara said. "It's a big deal."

Now Bounds hopes his experiences can help the technology become available to more amputees sometime in the future.

"Hopefully its going to make a lot of veterans smile and have a little better quality of life," he said.