Ian is a C5 tetraplegic from a diving accident in 2010. He has participated in multiple clinical trials, including using a brain-computer interface to control muscle stimulation. Ian has been a member of the North American Spinal Cord Injury Consortium since its inception, he currently serves as Vice President and chairs the project review committee. He has also worked with Unite2Fight Paralysis to advocate for $6 million of SCI research in his home state of Ohio. Ian has been a Reeve peer mentor since 2015 and helps lead two local SCI networking groups. As the president of the Ian Burkhart Foundation, he raises funds for accessible equipment for the independence of others with SCI. Ian is also a full-time consultant working with multiple medical device companies.
Ian is an active public speaker to raise awareness about spinal cord injuries and technologies to improve the lives of those living with paralysis. Sharing his experience to industry, medical professionals, and other spinal cord injured individuals is critical in obtaining more awareness and momentum towards a future where spinal cord injuries are less of a derailment from life.
Research is crucial to advancing treatments and adaptations for those with paralysis. Ian is involved with a neural bridging research study by having an implant in his brain as a part of the clinical trial, Reanimation in Tetraplegia, through The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center and the Battelle Memorial Institute, which has restored some movement in his right hand.
A spinal cord injury is an extremely expensive feat even for those who are financially stable. The Ian Burkhart Foundation will help individuals seek out widely accessible funding sources and provide grants for items not usually covered by insurance however they will greatly increase independence and quality of life. Grants will be given after being determined necessary by the board.