A few dozen researchers were abuzz showing off their projects under way at the James A. Haley VA Hospital. The public showcase held Thursday is a part of National VA Research Week. Projects varied from genetics to obesity.
Carl Hayward, a physical therapist with the VA, has invented the stand bar, which attaches to motorized wheelchairs to help people get off their seat and stand. Hayward said it goes beyond helping improve posture.
"They're not sitting in a chair, they're standing [at] eye level and that does so much for their independence, their public image, their self-image [and] confidence," Hayward said.
Veteran Ty Edwards is paralyzed on the right side of his body after a gunshot wound to the head in 2008. He demonstrated the stand bar as he can get up without someone else's help.
"It's outstanding to me because I can also transfer with it like (to) get into bed or transfer to a chair," Edwards said, "It just gives me a lot more independence now. It feels good to stand up."