Ian Burkhart on finding joy after tragedy
“(Regarding my injury) there’s a point where insurance believes you’ve plateaued and you’re not going to make any more progress. I wasn’t ready to accept that. I wanted to do more.
I asked my doctors about other types of therapy, what else might be out there for me. And that’s when I was at the right place at the right time. I was the perfect candidate.”
IAN BURKHART, Founder, Ian Burkhart Foundation and first-ever neurobridge implant patient
Ian remembers being a typical, jovial college student having fun on vacation at the beach with his friends. He also recalls the moment when he dove into the ocean waves off of the Carolina coast and hit a sandbar — that very moment when everything changed.
Ian learned shortly thereafter that he had suffered a devastating spinal cord injury. His diagnosis: paralyzed for life. At age 19, Ian’s life was forever altered.
Ian shares his story that is equal parts heartbreaking, heartwarming and, truth be told, literally mind altering. Ian is the first person ever to undergo an elective brain surgery to implant a device that can read his brain waves in effort to help him regain movement. It is here — where life and science intersect, and joy and pain coexist — that Ian speaks with a steady cadence of hope and reason borne of a tragic accident.
We return to the site of his first internship, Brainstorm Media, which was the type of place he could envision a career after college. Ian gives us the encouragement to be optimistic and inspired, especially when a new set of aspirations are ready to replace those best laid plans.
TEDxColumbus talk (photo credit: Time Tank Labs)