Local News

Super Bowl Commerical Inspires, Offends

Posted February 3, 2000

— The miracle of technology fooled many people during the Super Bowl, and some of them are angry about it.

A commercial showed Christopher Reeve walking, thanks to a computer-generated image of his head attached to someone else's body.

The creators of the commercial say they were trying to inspire hope for patients with spinal cord injures. But for some, the commercial was offensive.

Dennis Winstead is a quadriplegic. Walking is his dream.

"I couldn't believe after the commercial that they didn't have some kind of little caption telling us that this was computer imaging," he says.

Winstead is not alone.

"Some of the patients at times feel upset about that and also wonder if they're missing out on something that might be happening in research," says Dr. Patrick O'Brien, medical director atWakeMed Rehab.

Winstead says he also has other concerns about the commercial, like who is profiting and why not use just a regular person with a spinal cord injury.

"It's very unfortunate that somebody famous has to get hurt before it's every really recognized," he says. "That bothers me, because I'm just as important as Christopher Reeve."

But O'Brien looks at the commercial differently. "I think that really Mr. Reeve was trying to make this issue of spinal cord injury and spinal cord research more available," he says.

O'Brien says the most important thing the commercial did was to get people talking about spinal cord injury. He hopes it will inspire people to donate to the research to find a cure.

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