A FORMER soldier who lost both legs in an explosion in Afghanistan has become the first person in the UK to be fitted with a revolutionary prosthetic knee.
Gregg Stevenson, 29, from Foulridge, says the new joint will allow him to actively play with his two-year-old son Harry for the first time and enable him to realise his dream of returning to work as an engineer.
Gregg, a former Park High School student, who was serving with the Royal Engineers in 2009 when he was injured, was identified as the ‘classic patient’ for the £70,000 Genium X3 knee, which was funded by the MOD.
He lost his left leg above the knee and his right leg just below.
The knee, which has a battery life of five days is made from aluminium, steel and carbon fibre.
It is programmed directly from a laptop allowing users to move easily from walking to jogging to running. There is also a mute button so that it can be silenced for things like meetings or trips to the cinema. Gregg, who lives with wife Melanie and toddler son Harry, said the new limb would give him 'almost complete freedom'.
“It feels fantastic, we'll balanced and comfortable,” he said. “I can now walk up and down stairs, backwards and it's waterproof which is really important.
“It sounds like a small thing but I will be able to take Harry for swimming lessons and go to the beach.
“I've just started kicking a football with him and got him some mini golf clubs. Harry will have to keep up with me now.”
Lancashire Teaching Hospital’s Specialist Mobility Rehabilitation Centre (SMRC) in Preston became the first in the UK to fit the world's most advanced prosthetic knee yesterday.
Gregg said: “Since I was injured I haven’t been able to go back to work as an engineer because the prosthetic legs that I was using before really limited my movement, but now I’m hoping to get back to work. It’s fantastic.
“I feel blessed that I've regained this much mobility.”
Dr Fergus Jepson, Consultant at the SMRC said: “It’s so pleasing to see a young man who is a double amputee, as a result of fighting for his country, being given a new lease of life thanks to this amazing new technology.
“We know how much this will enhance Gregg’s life and give him new opportunities and we are so proud to be the first centre in the UK to provide this piece of kit for one of our patients.”