Baton Rouge, LA (NBC33) — Chico Garcia slept a little easier last night.
Garcia, the LSU cheerleading coach who was paralyzed in 2011 after a boating accident, received a new, technologically advanced bed Thursday, courtesy of Mattress Direct and Tempur-Pedic.
Garcia has kept his lively spirit, the type one might expect from a cheerleading coach. But for a man who says he loves sleep, nights have not been easy since he returned home after three months in a rehabilitation hospital in Atlanta.
"When I came home from Shepherd Hospital, of course they issued a hospital bed for me and said that that would be my permanent bed," he said.
The mattress was constructed in a way that would prevent him from developing sores, but it was also a twin. He sought out a queen bed like the one he used to sleep on. Mattress Direct contacted Tempur-Pedic, and they came back with one of their newest models, one Garcia could operate with remote controls.
"He's able to adjust his comfort [by using the remote] to adjust the air chambers inside the bed," said Bill Bradford, a divisional account executive for Tempur-Pedic, who helped install Garcia's new bed Thursday.
With the touch of a button, Garcia can elevate either end of the bed, letting him elevate his feet or sit up to eat or watch TV.
"Raising up the feet," is helpful, Garcia stated, "allowing that blood pressure to flow back towards the heart, and [away from] my feet, so I don't get swelling in the legs or the ankles."
The bed also has its own WI-FI network, which is perfect for Garcia. He was good with technology before his injuries, but now he has devices that allow him to live on his own terms, from a wheelchair that moves with his breath to a tablet that controls the electronics and doors in his house.
Garcia said he did not expect that his bed would be so sophisticated, "and especially that it works off of my iPad, which I've already been doing, operating everything else around on my iPad, so it just makes sense, and it fits together. So, I'm extremely excited about it.
"I'm ready to go take a nap! Yeah, I think it's an amazing bed. I don't think I can describe how I'm feeling right now, but I'm more than thankful for it."