By Jesse Chambers
Photography by Beau Gustafson
Most Birmingham residents are familiar with hometown boy Noah Galloway—the U.S. Army vet who lost parts of his left arm and left leg during the Iraq War, yet still competed successfully on ABC’s Dancing with the Stars in 2015.
When Galloway needed a top-quality prosthetic leg, he turned to BioTech Limb and Brace, a Birmingham company that combines high-end manufactured components with their own skilled fabrications to make both prosthetics and orthotics.
BioTech also made a prosthetic arm for Galloway to wear on Dancing with the Stars, according to the company’s owner, Eric Eisenberg.
However, Galloway chose not wear it on the show because it would have been “too stressful,” Eisenberg says. “He’s performing in front of 20 million people on national television…and he hadn’t worn an arm in a long time. It was putting too much pressure on him.”
But the arm—which Eisenberg showed to BHM BIZ— is an amazing device. It’s a myoelectric prosthesis, meaning it’s equipped with electrodes that “pick up electronic impulses in a patient’s remaining muscles to make the wrist and the hand function,” Eisenberg says.
The electrodes essentially pick up commands sent from the brain to the nerves in the arm that tell a muscle to work, and send those signals instead to a motor that allows a patient to, for example, open or close his prosthetic hand.