No one ever believed that Lucas Lindner would be able to use his arms again, let alone throw the first pitch at a Major League baseball game.

That’s why the crowd erupted into cheers when the Eden, Wisconsin youth threw the first ball at Miller Park for the Reds versus Brewers game last week.

“Throwing out the first pitch at a Major League game is not something I could have imagined a year ago,” said Lucas.

Only 14 months previously, Lucas had suffered a severe spinal cord injury when his car swerved off the road and into a tree in order to avoid hitting a deer. He was flown to the hospital and given immediate surgery to stabilize his spine. He was left without the ability to move his limbs below the neck and upper arms.

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Then, in June 2016, Lucas was given an innovative stem cell treatment by Shekar N. Kurpad, the director of the Froedtert and Medical College of Wisconsin Spinal Cord Injury Program.

One of only five people to receive this treatment in the United States, Lucas has since regained the ability to move his triceps, hands, and fingers.

“I want to show everyone that there is hope that spinal cord injury patients can regain function,” says Lindner. “I am looking forward to going back to school, pursuing my dream of working in the IT field and living independently someday.”

“When I first met Lucas about a year ago, he had some use of his arms and little to no use of his hands or fingers,” said Dr. Kurpad. “The fact that he is throwing out the first pitch at a Major League Baseball game is amazing. It illustrates the strides medical science is starting to make in helping paralyzed patients regain useful function. I’m very encouraged by the early results we are seeing with AST-OPC1”

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