After being shot in the neck in 2016, Khalil Watson, 25, sustained a catastrophic spinal cord damage that rendered him immobile. The incident occurred just a few weeks before the Virginia student’s prom and high school graduation, preventing him from attending both occasions.
The crippled guy, however, was able to successfully walk across the stage to get his diploma on Monday during his college graduation, which gave him cause for celebration. According to the New York Post, the 25-year-old was assisted on this remarkable walk by a wearable robotic exoskeleton.
Watson is shown being lifted out of his wheelchair in the Sheltering Arms Institute’s film of the momentous occasion before beginning to walk with the aid of the exoskeleton and two canes. Attendees are seen cheering the Reynolds Community College alumnus as he comes across the Siegel Center platform to accept his diploma.
Watson, who could also stand for photographs, said he treasured that occasion because his paralysis had prevented him from attending his Highland Springs High School graduation.
“Anything is possible,” he told NBC 12. “I did this for God, myself, friends, my family. I mean if people only knew how I got to this point.”
Watson claimed that in addition to sustaining bodily wounds from the shooting, he also became emotionally exhausted. He added that relearning how to breathe, eat, and speak made him feel like a baby. Watson’s prolonged rehabilitation did not stop him from continuing his education, though; he enrolled at Reynolds to study a social work degree, according to the New York Post.
During physical therapy a few years ago, he was able to test out the exoskeleton from the Sheltering Arms Institute. By identifying the smallest movements that the wearer makes, the technology enables people to walk and perform other functions.
About his next educational step, Watson said he plans to earn a bachelor’s degree in social work before eventually getting his master’s. He said he wants to pursue his degree course at Virginia Commonwealth University.
“I have a passion for helping others, and after going through the things that I have experienced, I feel like I’ll be easy to connect with and understand individuals who have similar or worse situations,” Watson told NBC 12.