Elizabeth CohenSenior Medical Correspondent. CNN While practicing for a national motocross competition inKent Stephenson's motorcycle suddenly locked up and crashed, leaving him paralyzed from the chest down.
He was just 21 years old and would never walk again. Stars Screen Binge Culture Media. Tech Innovate Gadget Mission: College football paralyzed quadriplegic sexual health with us in Facebook Messenger. Find out what's happening in the world as it unfolds. Kent Stephenson and his girlfriend, Misti Richeson. Story highlights Paralysis patients have electrical stimulators implanted in their spines in study Stimulators help return their sex lives College football paralyzed quadriplegic sexual health normal Patient: He was also devastated to learn that he would never have sex again.
For three years Stephenson College football paralyzed quadriplegic sexual health function sexually. Then one evening he was getting intimate with a woman and to his shock he had an erection. No, it wasn't Viagra -- doctors had previously prescribed College football paralyzed quadriplegic sexual health pill in huge doses, but all he got was a big headache. What gave Stephenson his groove back was an electrical stimulator surgically implanted
College football paralyzed quadriplegic sexual health his spine as part of a study on paralysis.
Stephenson's friends were happy he was happy, but they expressed disappointment that the experimental stimulator didn't also get Stephenson walking again. See paralyzed man move his leg Walking again, with a robotic exoskeleton New technology helps paralyzed woman walk The men, who all experienced varying levels of sexual dysfunction, say their sex lives returned to normal once the stimulators were implanted.
This unexpected benefit of the stimulator treatment underlies a brewing debate in the spinal cord injury community: While it's often assumed that walking again is the ultimate goal for people using wheelchairs, many of the people in those wheelchairs argue that what doctors call "secondary conditions" such as sexual function and bowel and bladder control are just as important, if not more so, and should be given a higher research priority.
A survey of than people paralyzed from the chest down -- mostly men -- found that regaining sexual function was their highest priority. Bowel and bladder control was No. Regaining the ability to walk was No. Anderson-Erisman, the director of education at the Miami
College football paralyzed quadriplegic sexual health to Cure Paralysis, has used a wheelchair since she was in a car accident at Slowly, the research is changing.
Stephenson agrees, and feels lucky that the stimulator changed his life.
First, of course, is his "zero to hero" sex life. The stimulator also gave him greater bladder and bowel control. Before the surgery, Stephenson and the other men said they would sometimes urinate or defecate without warning.
But now Stephenson's bowel and bladder control are nearly where they were before his accident. That's not just important for his quality of life, but also for the length of his life; a too-full bladder can lead to fatal blood infections or kidney damage. He said he hopes there's a shift in research funding so more people using wheelchairs will
College football paralyzed quadriplegic sexual health to share his experiences.