Wounded Warrior Gets New Bionic Arm, First in the Country | Community Spirit

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Wounded Warrior Gets New Bionic Arm, First in the Country

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- A Navy veteran who lost an arm in Iraq in 2005 now has a new one that can do most of the things the original could.

Hospital Corpsman Sharod Edwards, who was a field medic in Iraq, is the first person in the world to have the new functional arm.  There were two others who had it on a trial basis, but for Edwards, it's a keeper.

It's been three weeks since Edwards got the new arm, which works by muscle impulses higher in the arm that control the action of the wrist and fingers.

Licensed certified prosthetist Geoffrey Hemmen, who has worked closely with Edwards at Hanger Prosthetics and Orthotics in San Marco, said he's doing great, and that's why he got into the business.

Hemmen said he knew someone when he was a child who lost a leg in an accident and has pursued the field of prosthetics ever since.

"They become life-long friends," Hemmen said of those who come through his door.  He added he especially likes it when people enter his office in a wheelchair but eventually walk out the door.

PICTURES: Sharod Edwards' New Arm

As for Edwards' new arm, "This is the next step of what the progress is as far as technology in this field...I'm very happy to be a part of it."

Edwards said having two hands again has given him much of his life back.

"I wanted to fight the whole thing of being amputated," he said of his injury.  However, he said a friend who has spent his whole life in a wheelchair -- and who has won two gold medals -- has inspired him to keep going.

He said he can play with his kids and dog again; playing tug of war with the dog was a strain on his other shoulder.

His wife loves it too, Edwards said.  "It's the best back massager she's had."

Edwards said when he began speaking with Hemmen, he said he wanted to play football and golf again, and Hemmen didn't back away.  When asked today if he would realize that dream with his new arm, Edwards simply replied, "Yes."

He also offers a message for others in similar situations.

"Don't let that injury count you out.  There is help out there."

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