Birmingham has its own "Six Million Dollar Man."
"It makes me feel good. When I got them the first thing I said, I'm the new Steve Austin," Mike Wisham said.
Steve Austin was "The Six Million Dollar Man" on a TV show but today 52-year-old Wisham is showing off his bionic limbs powered by a microprocessor. Wisham is among the first bilateral amputees in Birmingham to walk freely on them.
"I think it's not going to be too much longer a person with a leg loss or arm loss they are going to able to carry on every day normal life," Wisham said.
In 1992 Wisham had a back injury that caused vascular problems, which lead to the amputation of one of his feet. Years later due to complications, the other foot had to be amputated. Wisham became immobile and put on 30 pounds. He saw a future with little mobility.
"My vision was the old pirate, you know like a plunger on the bottom with a stick. I knew I would be able to walk again. I didn't know I would be carrying on a normal life with them," Wisham said.
The bionic limbs didn't cost $6 million but rather about $15,000 each with much of the cost covered by insurance. Todd Clay with Hanger Clinic worked with Wisham about a year ago, getting him adjusted to his new feet.
"To literally say, 'What you were doing before you lost your limbs we can get them back again.' That is a satisfying feeling," Clay said.
"I haven't tried running yet but I believe I could if I had to. I will climb ladders. I will ride motorcycles. I will cut grass," Wisham said.
The bionic limbs are not for everyone. The Hanger Clinic will conduct an evaluation to determine if you are eligible. Wisham said you should also check with your insurance company to see what they will cover.
Copyright 2013 WBRC. All rights reserved.
1720 Valley View Drive