• Paralyzed teen walks across graduation stage to receive diploma

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    HEARD COUNTY, Ga. - A Heard County high school student paralyzed from the waist down made medical history at his graduation when he actually walked across the stage.

    That special moment was thanks to a device used for the first time outside of a hospital setting.
     
    At just 16 years old, Will Hutchins was like any normal high school kid with big dreams for his future.
     
    But everything changed when he crashed his car in Heard County. The accident left him paralyzed from the waist down.
     
    For two years, with the love and support of his family and the staff at the Shepherd Center in Atlanta, he's been making strides and on Friday night he took the biggest stride of all:  across the stage at his graduation.
     
    “To be able to walk across the stage with my fellow classmates in my class and feel normal like everybody else,” Hutchins said about the big night.
     
    First silence and then step-by-step there was a huge standing ovation from the entire audience as Hutchins made his way across that stage to get his diploma.
     
    “When he was paralyzed from the waist down we didn't know if we were going to be able to see this day and so it’s been a goal of Will’s since his injury one way or another to walk across the stage,” his mother told Channel 2’s Rachel Stockman.  
     
    His family says in addition to their son's own perseverance, this moment was possible because of the Indego, a new technological device that allows spinal cord injury victim mobility.
     
    Right now it is only in the clinical trial phase.
     
    For Hutchins, he never gave up hope.
     
    “I knew I was going to be able to do it somehow,” Hutchins told Stockman.  
     
    As for what is next for Hutchins, his family hopes he continues to pursue his dream of becoming a veterinarian.


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