Green Bay man's life changed by new bionic arm

Nick Kelley tries out his new prosthetic are he can control with his mind.
Nick Kelley tries out his new prosthetic are he can control with his mind.(WBAY)
Published: Apr. 10, 2020 at 7:08 PM CDT
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Many of us who still have all of our limbs don't think much about what life would be like if suddenly one had to be amputated.

That was the case for Nick Kelley up until 2013, when his left arm had to be amputated after a nearly fatal crash in De Pere.

"I lost control of my moped somehow and ended up striking a steel pole. If it wasn't for me wearing a motocross helmet, I probably wouldn't be here," said Kelley.

He was in a coma for about a month and woke up with a broken jaw, a fractured skull, and a paralyzed left arm.

"It was a benefit to have it cut off only because it would have gotten caught on things, or created a worse health situation for me," said Kelley.

He's had to learn to live without it, but got a prosthetic arm that he could move with his shoulder muscles and with a clamp-like hand.

Now, he's got a new prosthetic limb known as a shoulder disarticulation prosthesis with a myoelectric elbow and I-limb hand.

"It's basically converting the signals from your brain, and when you're thinking about opening an closing the hand, and moving the elbow, so it's translating that signal to actually making it work," said Vikram Choudhary, a prosthetist with Bionic Prosthetics and Orthotics.

He's been working with Kelley for the last few weeks at Monroe Biotechnology, fine tuning the bionic arm so Kelley will be able to use it with ease.

"I'm 31 and I didn't expect it in my lifetime to have an electronic, robotic-like arm that I function with my brain to the muscles," said Kelley.

Kelley has been working with his insurance company for the last four years to get the arm.

Now that it's a reality, he's looking forward to his new normal and doing activities he enjoys.

"I plan on going fishing and holding a fishing pole and reeling it in. I can't even think, I'll use it every day, it will be like the shirt I put on," said Kelley.

The prosthetic arm should last him about five years.