CHARDON, OH (WOIO) - Outside the airport isn't the only place you can find NASA technology. The Alter G is an anti-gravity treadmill that's helping patients recover like astronauts.
Chris Kovatch likes to ride ATVs, but he hasn't gotten on one in months.
"I came up short on a jump, landed on the wrong spot and ruptured my achilles," he said.
And Terri Rosenwald is a Big Ten softball ump, but she was on the bench for while.
"I came up out of my stance and pivoted and shredded what little bit of cartilage I had left," she said.
Both are recovering quicker and with less pain, thanks to the NASA developed Alter-G at Precision Orthopaedic Specialties in Chardon. It alters weight-baring, down to 20%.
"It gives patients another option besides water treadmill or harness treadmill. It's not as restrictive as those," said physical therapist Ben Deszczykiewicz.
Patients zip themselves into the portal, the machine calibrates their weight, fills with air, and...lift-off!
"The treadmill just really increases your confidence. Every day you can go up a little higher, add a little extra weight, go faster, run a little harder," said Kovatch.
High school runner, Halle Markel had been biking and swimming, while nursing a stress fracture, until she found the Alter-G.
"Cross training helps to an extent but it's not the same as getting going and running. Getting back on my feet was awesome," said Markel.
Patients say taking the impact off their joints has sped up recovery time. Terri was umping games again, three months after a knee replacement.
"Three weeks before the season started, I got on the machine at 50 percent of my body weight. It got me walking, and within ten days I was jogging," said Rosenwald.
Most insurance plans will cover sessions on the Alter-G, if your doctor has prescribed physical therapy.