BATON ROUGE, Louisiana (WAFB) – Some of the best gifts are those handcrafted, carefully crafted, and tailored to size. This is the kind of gift that the Baton Rouge police sergeant. Jason Martin had been waiting for him since August. It was then that a suspected drunk driver crashed into him and two other officers as they were responding to a separate wreckage on Interstate 10 in Baton Rouge.
“It has been a long road. And we have a long way to go, ”said Martin.
The accident cost Martin his leg. He must have been amputated just above the knee. However, after weeks in the hospital, multiple surgeries, months of physiotherapy, and countless doctor’s appointments, Martin received his first prosthesis. With his wife and three children watching him, he was able to take some of his first real steps since that night he had to run for his life. “You know the song, all I want for Christmas are my two front teeth, well I have one leg now.” All I wanted for Christmas was a leg and I got it, ”Martin said.
The prosthesis was built by Hanger Clinic in Baton Rouge.
“I feel very honored,” said clinic director and certified prosthetist Jay Tew. “It’s like watching your kids walk for the first time over and over again, never getting old.” Tew has been manufacturing prosthetics for 25 years. He says Martin’s new leg comes with some of the most advanced technology available, including a microprocessor that constantly adapts to the world around it. “It scans about 50 times per second, which is as fast as a hummingbird flaps its wings,” Tew explained. “It constantly reads the ground and what’s going to change valves and hydraulics to keep you where you don’t have to physically hold it all the time.”
Tew says a prosthesis allows an amputee to resume his or her life to the fullest. For Martin, that means going back to work and enjoying the sheer pleasure of mowing the grass. Another goal that motivates him is the hope of one day accompanying his two daughters down the aisle.
Tew says motivation helps because it’s a slow process of learning to tolerate wearing a prosthesis and learning how to use it correctly. This can be frustrating for particularly active people, such as a police officer wanting to get back to work.
However, Martin says that every small step forward is worth it. “Being able to sit there on Christmas morning with my leg for a little while, while the kids open the presents and feel a little normal, that’s going to be nice,” Martin said.
Officer Joe Carboni was also seriously injured in the crash and is also continuing to recover. A third officer was slightly injured. Colleagues organized a fundraiser for the officers while they were recovering. You can find these details in the leaflet below.
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