KNOXVILLE (WATE) - A former Stanford University quarterback is finding a new way to cope after a devastating diagnosis.
It's all thanks to a device developed right here in East Tennessee.
He played for Stanford University in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Through the years, Ted Bleymeier has remained active and fit, an avid golfer who enjoys planning tournaments for charitable causes.
But just last year, Bleymeier got the worst news of his life.
He was diagnosed with ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease, a degenerative condition causing the muscles to waste away.
"When I came down with ALS, things began to change," he recalled.
Bleymeier went from a cane to a walker to a wheelchair.
But now, a device developed here in Knoxville is helping Bleymeier complete arm exercises and work out his legs, maintaining a certain quality of life even though the disease continues to progress.
"My ankles typically swell during the day, especially if I've been sitting in a chair, so we took some measurements and I went on the machine and in 30 minutes my swelling reduced an inch in each ankle," he said.
It's called the quadriciser. It's a motorized therapy system developed by local businessman Larry Bohannan fifteen years ago for his dad who suffered a stroke.
Since then, he has sold hundreds. To him, the process is simple. It not only helps circulation, he says, but it can help re-train the brain.
"When you first learn to ride a bicycle, you don't know how, but your neurons start sending signals and pretty soon you're balancing yourself," Bohannan said.
The device caught the attention of Sean Mohr of Anybody Fitness. He says the quadriciser would be a good fit at hospitals and physical therapy centers.
"It's an amazingly simple, but amazingly useful machine," Mohr said.
Ted Bleymeier, who uses the device for an hour in the morning and an hour at night, agrees.
"You suddenly gain a whole new appreciation for simple things and the ability to do simple things," he said.
The quadriciser currently costs under $20,000 for individual use and efforts are underway to get it covered through insurance.