Rock Center   |  May 03, 2013

Boston bombing victims determined at rehab

Rock Center checks in on Celeste and Sydney Corcoran, the mom and daughter wounded in the Boston bombings. They move from the hospital to a rehabilitation facility where the journey of recovery continues. NBC News’ Natalie Morales reports.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> the corcoran family in boston when natalie morales first met this mother and daughter wounded in the bombing together and hospitalized together, we knew only they were bombing victims. we didn't yet know who extraordinary people they were and what strength and courage they would end up showing the rest of us these weeks later. tonight, natalie joins them at a new facility where they are giving a master class in boston strong. the mow toe that has become to stand for recovery after a bad event in a great city.

>> deep breath.

>> we are ready. ready.

>> yep.

>> sunday was moving day .

>> good luck.

>> good luck with everything.

>> you too.

>> it's not a hand shake. it's a hug. thank you. for the last two weeks, this hospital room has been where celeste and her 18-year-old sydney have stayed sincehey were both badly injured in the boston marathon bombing.

>> good-bye boston medical center .

>> reporter: they are on the mend and now on their way to rehab. leaving behind those who cared for them in those first critical days. [ applause ]

>> we will be back. when i get my legs i'm going to come back and see you guys.

>> that had to be emotional. they lined up in the hallway.

>> my god, i was crying again. yes. they lined up. there was people -- i believe a lot of the people were from the emergency room .

>> on that first night.

>> when they came in. i didn't really recognize a lot of the faces and stuff, but you know just really touched me that they cared.

>> reporter: after the emotional good-byes an ambulance ride. this time to the spalding rehabilitation hospital where many of the bombing victims will rehab together.

>> count of three, okay.

>> reporter: it's the first step to getting back to normal.

>> the amount of flexion will come as you work it.

>> reporter: dr. david crandall is treating celeste and sydney . now their initl wounds have healed, his job is to get them up and moving again. sydney is still recovering from severe shrapnel wounds and is working to regain the use of her foot.

>> come back up.

>> good.

>> reporter: it will be more challenging for celeste , who lost both legs in the bombing. before she's even fitted for her new legs, celeste has a lot of work to do.

>> hold it. two, three.

>> she's going to have to improve her aerobi conditioning. because even though we can give an individual high-quality, well-fitting prosthesis, it takes more energy to use a prosthesis. we have to improve their overall physical health .

>> little further. little further.

>> reporter: but it isn't easy.

>> it is tough. i don't like change much. i had a good three-hour meltdown.

>> reporter: i imagine you will experience a lot of these highs and lows. have you been feeling a loof ups and downs emotionally.

>> you just cry a little by . get a few hugs from my family and wipe the tears and just keep going.

>> reporter: sydney , what about you? have you had pain still?

>> i mean the pain is always there, but every day it gets easier.

>> reporter: besides sheer determination, there's another key factor to celeste 's recovery. cutting-edge technology in today's prosthetics.

>> if you could, step forward and from there. thank you.

>> reporter: doctors here utilize the same motion capture technology used in computer-generated hollywood blockbusters to precisely measure how a prosthetic will fit and move. the science of prosthetics has made great strides, especially in the last decade. one of the leading scientists in the field is dr. hugh herr of m.i.t. his research and designs are among the most advanced. here we see an evolution of the foot.

>> it is hard to figure out the architecture of the limb. we imagine, think and build and test.

>> reporter: it's amazing. this may look like science fiction , but these are all very real. in dr. herr 's lab, the future is now. how far along have prosthetics come just in the last ten years or so. obviously we had two wars that no doubt have unfortunately allowed for some of these advancements in technology.

>> the progress in the last decade has been profound. largely for leg devices, largely were passive and now we see a number of active desloovices, motorized that truly emulate bionic function.

>> these bionic limbs could be better than your old limbs?

>> yes, that's where we are going. this is, you know, making deep progress in to the long-term vision of just being able to rebuild people and have them do what they want to do in life without disability.

>> reporter: herr says the newest prosthesis are controlled by microchip that mimic normal human movement . the most advanced prosthetics can propel patients at the speed of able-bodied people. dr. herr knows well what life with prosthetics means. he, himself, is a double amputee, as a result of a mountaineering accident when he was 17. are prosthesis like yours what the bombing bombings victims have to look forward to.

>> they will get a training one to get them used to walking. after that period they will be given limbs that are high-tech such as the one i'm using here today.

>> reporter: technology so radical it gives people their lives back.

>> i bet if i looked in to your closeti'd see a lot ofhoes.

>> lots.

>> if you look in my closet, you see a lot of legs. i have legs for climbing fissures, legs to run, legs to walk, bionic, versus nonbionic, legs for showering, swimming, fin legs, merman, all kinds of legs. it is wonderful.

>> reporter: for celeste , just being in the gym makes her feel better.

>> being able to exercise my legs, as well as the rest of my body and work up a sweat, you know, it feels -- like i don't feel broken when i'm doing that. i feel like, you know, i'm whole. i can do this.

>> reporter: celeste faces weeks of rehab. but earlier today, a bright moment for the family. though she will still need outpatient therapy, sydney left spalding and went home.

>> hi, baby.

>> hi.

>> reporter: one more step for this family toward their new life together.

>> one down, one to go.

>> how about this family and how about celeste ? natalie morales reporting from boston tonight where we will continue to follow the corcorans. we want you to know if you want to help the corcorans or any of the victims of the boston bombing we have put more information on our website tonight.