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Tech advancements lift recovery efforts for Newberry Township man

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NEWBERRY TOWNSHIP, P.A. --- In 2008, Brian Keefer, 30, broke his spine during a gymnastics accident, leaving him paralyzed from the chestline down.
 
Now in 2018, the volleyball coach and public speaker said he's seen nothing but progress.
 
"I'm able to lean forward, which I'm not supposed to be able to do at my injury level. I can sit on a matt table, myself, without any support," said Keefer.
 
He attributes his successes to the many technological features in his home.
 
In 2011, Extreme Home Makeover provided several advanced features, including an aqua training therapy pool and an overhead lift system that runs from this bedroom to his therapy room. 
 
He said he uses it for getting into the pool or his chair without the assistance of his physical therapist or family. 
 
Over the last few years, Keefer said big changes are coming for the small things. 
 
Since 2015, Keefer has worked was a Myopro.
 
It's a myoelectric arm brace with sensors connected to Brian's bicep and tricep.
 
The sensor reacts when he tries to make a movement with his arm muscles, in turn helping him finish the range of motion and help build up the muscles to, eventually, do the motion without the arm brace.
 
"If I put a fork attachment to my hand, that's how I can bring food to my mouth. If I attach a comb, I can bring it up and comb my hair," said Keefer.
 
Another recent addition is an Amazon Alexa Show, donated by an independent living improvement company SimplyHome.
 
It allows Brian to talk to home, voice activating tasks around his house that he'd, previously, would need further help with, such as turning on his TV, turning the lights on and off, and opening and closing doors to the outside.
 
All of the new tech advancements give Brian hope as he accomplishes more day-to-day tasks on his own.
 
"It gives me a sense of who I used to be in being able to take care of myself and do my own things. Just the little bit of independence...it means the world to me. It really is the little things that matter," said Keefer.
 
For Brian's father, Steve Keefer, he said it also helps in giving him his own independence as Brian's caretaker.
 
"I thought this is our life now. This is what I'm going to have to get used to and I'm not going to be allowed to get old because I'm not going to be able to do these things," Steve said, with a laugh. "Then, the technology started coming along, which I never dreamed of happening.
 
For more information on Brian and his recovery, visit a link here.