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Florida media reports on U.S. veteran's new bionic hand

Jacksonville, Fla., February 28, 2012 – In 2005 while serving in Iraq with the Navy, Sharod Edwards, now 34-years-old, suffered a combat-related injury on Christmas Day which necessitated the amputation of his right arm below-the-elbow six months later. Recently, Edwards became the first U.S. veteran to receive the Michelangelo Hand, the newest bionic hand available in the world.

Hanger clinician Geoff Hemmen, CP and Hanger Upper Extremity Specialist Alistair Gibson, CPO, LPO have been working to fit Edwards with the new bionic technology over the past several months. The Michelangelo Hand features multiple grip functions that allow Edwards to flex the muscles in his residual limb to master everyday tasks many take for granted such as opening a tube of toothpaste, shifting the gear in his car, tying the drawstring on his pants before a visit to the gym, playing with his dog, and most importantly, interacting with his children. Edwards now finds it much easier to teach his son how to play football, and even play football himself now that he’s able to catch the ball with two hands. The Michelangelo is the first hand that provides thumb control via sensors in the socket that read naturally occurring myo-signals, instead of requiring the patient to open the thumb manually. This helps when Edwards wants to use both hands at once, for example, holding a plate while going through a buffet line. 

Edwards recently spoke to several local media outlets about the new technology and the difference it is making in his life:
-Florida Times-Union: One of Us: Jacksonville veteran now has a grip on his new life
-WTLV-TV (NBC) / WJXX-TV (ABC): Wounded warrior gets new bionic arm, first in the Country
-WAWS-TV (FOX) / WTEV-TV (CBS): Robotic hand for vet
-WJXT-TV (Independent): Navy veteran receives first bionic hand
-WJCT-FM (NPR): Interview with Sharod Edwards

About the Michelangelo Hand – The Michelangelo Hand uses advanced software that increases the responsiveness and predictability of the hand, making it much easier to operate. The new technology also has a “neutral mode” for resting the hand in a natural position, and a repositionable wrist joint offers a more natural shape and movement. The new technology is currently available in limited release; those interested in learning more about the technology should visit http://www.hanger.com/prosthetics/services/Technology/Pages/MichelangeloHand.aspx  or call 1-877-4Hanger.

About Hanger: Founded in 1861 by the first amputee of the Civil War, Hanger Prosthetics and Orthotics, a business unit of Hanger Orthopedic Group, Inc. (NYSE: HGR), owns and operates 54 patient care centers in Florida and 670+ nationwide. The certified clinicians of Hanger provide patients with the latest in orthotic and prosthetic solutions, including microprocessor devices for those with limb loss and neuromuscular technologies for those with paralysis due to stroke, MS and other debilitating conditions. After a six-month celebration of its 150th anniversary, on February 1, 2012 Hanger unveiled a comprehensive new brand identity to position the company for the future. Subject to shareholder approval at the Company’s annual shareholder meeting in May 2012, the new brand includes renaming the parent company from Hanger Orthopedic Group, Inc. to “Hanger”, and referring to the patient care business as “Hanger Clinic” (formerly Hanger Prosthetics and Orthotics). For more information on Hanger and the new brand, visit ww.hanger.com.

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Jennifer Bittner, Hanger Orthopedic Group
904-249-4210, jbittner@hanger.com

Krisita Burket, Hanger Orthopedic Group
904-249-0314, kburket@hanger.com

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