Two years after he was shot at by an Afghan militant in Kashmir, Captain Manish Singh, who was left paraplegic by the injury, can walk again, thanks to 18-month stem cell treatment. Coupled with rehabilitation, Capt Singh, who could not even sit, is now mobile with the help of calipers. Buoyed by the improvement, he is now determined to return to the Special Forces he was assigned to.
After an AK47 bullet ripped through his stomach on September 25, 2012, Singh was injured in the D12 vertebra; he became paraplegic and lost control over bowel and bladder functions. “I was taken to a hospital in Sringar and then to the army hospital in Delhi where I was operated upon. Though my upper body functions were normal, I had no sensation or motor control below my navel,” said Singh, who is originally from Ludhiana. While rehabilitating at the army hospital at Kirkee in Pune, a colleague from the army suggested to Singh about stem cell therapy and rehabilitation.
“Capt Singh arrived at our centre in an ambulance, incapable of any movement,” said Dr Alok Sharma, director, Neuro Gen Brain and Spine Institute, Nerul. “There are a number of reasons why I was confident of great results from our treatment: First, he was provided with precise medical care for the first four months. Secondly, he is young, thirdly, him being an army man, he is determined and extremely focused,” said Dr Sharma, who is also the head of neurosurgery department at Sion Hospital.
The series of four stem therapy at the clinic was interspersed by bed mobility techniques that included rolling and shifting from bed to wheelchair and vice versa, gait training, ambulation lessons and physiotherapy, which comprised push-knee splints and balance training to improve trunk balance.
Now almost back on his feet, Capt Singh will return to Kirkee in September and after a week, he will travel to Mhow, an army cantonment in Madhya Pradesh where he will go to infantry school.
“I feel better, stronger and more determined to return to my life as it was. I want to get back into shooting, to represent India at the next Commonwealth Games,” said Singh who was awarded the Shaurya Chakra in January 2013.
“What makes this case special is that Singh never gave up hope. He doesn’t even encourage his parents to visit as it is emotional for him,” said Dr Sharma.
A story by Indira Rodericks of Timesgroup