Dunedin man's life-changing $500k leg

Dunedin man's life-changing $500k leg

A former Dunedin truck driver is now a half million-dollar man after being fitted with a bionic prosthetic leg.

Chris Campbell is one of a handful of New Zealanders to get the state-of-the-art electronic limbs, and it has got him up off the couch and back walking.

A walk in the park was something Mr Campbell avoided, after losing his right leg in a truck accident four years ago.

The amputee suffered through a dozen operations, getting around with the help of crutches and a wheelchair.

"I just used to sit at home all day and mope and do nothing, because of those great big cumbersome legs I used to have," says Mr Campbell.

A hundred steps a day was about his limit with his heavy, uncomfortable prosthetic legs. Now he's doing more than 6000 after being upgraded to a high-tech prosthesis fitted with gyroscopes and sensors.

The bionic limb is controlled right from his smartphone, adjusting his leg for walking, cycling, or even skiing.

"You've seen programmes when we were teenagers of the bionic man haven't you? Well I've started it."

He praises ACC and his caseworker, Corey Waldren, for the life-changing leg up.

The bionic knee, surgery and physio cost around $500,000. Best friend Matenga Russell says it's money well spent, giving Mr Campbell back his confidence.

"Freedom and maybe a sense of fitting back into the public and not being seen as the person with one leg -- I think that's changed him," says Mr Russell.

He finds it easier to drive around in his car with modified pedals, but there's still one big goal.

"I just want to go back to work," says Mr Campbell. "That's all I want to do now. I'd love to [get back to the truck], yes. That's what I like doing."

A drive mode app is already being developed to control his bionic knee -- the next step in getting him back behind the wheel of a truck.