Injured Oklahoma Iraqi Vet Benefits From Smart Knee

Thursday, September 1st 2011, 7:31 pm
By: News 9

Ed Murray, News 9

OKLAHOMA CITY -- He fought for freedom in Iraq. Now, a McLoud war veteran is once again experiencing the freedom of walking normally again. He's one of only about 120 amputees in the world that has the latest computer technology in his knee.

Scott Sabolich Prosthetics and Research Center in Oklahoma City is well known for its groundbreaking technology, but the new Genium knee has the Sabolich folks especially excited. Its computer "thinks" like never before, knocking down barriers most of us take for granted.

Brian Wofford is on his seventh prosthetic leg, but it's like no other in the world. Its micro-processor knee automatically adjusts as Brian encounters obstacles like stairs.

"The knee can actually tell when 70 percent of my body weight goes over the toe, then it goes into what is called swing phase and the knee bends loosely and freely with no resistance," Wofford said. "The knee does all the thinking and working for me and I just walk like normal."

Wofford can't talk about it without a huge smile. Sergeant Wofford lost his leg in September, 2004. Three car bombers devastated the grand opening of a sewage treatment plan in which more than 40 Iraqi children were killed.

"I never went through a period of my time where I was depressed or upset about losing my leg. I was never angry about it. I was raised to take things as they come and realize that you can't change it so don't sit and dwell on it," Wofford said.

Scott Williams is the prosthetics practitioner at Sabolich who works with Wofford.

"It's just amazing what it can do. It's what we've always kind of wanted to see in a prosthetic knee. The ability for the patient to actually walk more normally," Williams said.

"I think it's really neat. I always say it's always cool to be the kid on the block with the coolest toy," Wofford said.

He will be showing off his cool toy when he returns to college in Wisconsin. He talks often to young people about overcoming obstacles, showing them first hand that just because something happens to you, it doesn't have to change who you are.