Series| Superhuman

The exoskeleton marathon racer

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How do you bounce back from a life-changing car accident? Adam Gorlitsky decided he would break a world record.

Adam was paralyzed from the waist down in a terrible wreck and thought his track and field days were over. But once approved for an experimental exoskeleton, he gained the ability to walk again and decided to start training. And racing. And breaking records. What he didn’t realize is how much he would inspire others in the process.

You Adapt Or You Die

In high school Adam was obsessed with sports – basketball, track, cross-country. He was an athlete from a family of athletes. That all changed at the age of 19, when his car spun out into a median and he lost the ability to walk. The outlook for someone paralyzed from the waist down is grim. Doctors say most patients in Adam’s position end up unemployed and overweight.

But Adam set out to find himself again.

In for a normal annual check up, his doctors offered him the chance to test out an exoskeleton that had been collecting dust. That exoskeleton happened to be one of just 250 ReWalk exoskeleton suits in the world. The ReWalk exoskeleton is a bionic walking assistance system that enables paraplegics to stand upright and walk. Powered by a backpack battery and controlled by a simple wrist-mounted remote, this exoskeleton helped Adam to take his first steps in over 10 years. Adam’s first thought? I want to race.

7 hours and 17,932 steps later, Adam became the first complete paraplegic to finish the 6.2 mile race with the assistance of an exoskeleton.

With a new motivation and the technology to support it, Adam flipped back into competitor mode and continued training and racing, just like he did in his track and field days. And his goals continued to grow, including half-marathons and even the Los Angeles Marathon.

I Got Legs

Adam still races, but also spends time working on his non-profit I Got Legs, with a mission to raise awareness and push mobility technology forward. The organization connects people that want to provide support with those that need it, promoting races, fundraisers and volunteering. Their ultimate goal is to support improvements to life-changing technology for the physically challenged. To learn more about I Got Legs and donate, visit their website here.

Go Deeper

*Read Up: Wearable Robotic Suits Could Be Coming to a Store Near You

*Get up close and personal with Adam and his organization on Instagram

*Join the I Got Legs Facebook page and follow Adam’s journey.

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