09/09/2014 03:44 pm ET Updated Sep 09, 2014

Something Unexpected Gave This Paralyzed Man His Life Back

After waking up almost entirely paralyzed in the hospital about 20 years ago, Ken Worrall asked to be disconnected from his life-giving machines. But, as he explains in the YouTube video above, online gaming eventually gave him a sense of purpose.

Worrall was on a windy construction site when his accident occurred. An incorrectly fastened air duct fell and hit a pair of two-by-fours; Worrall's helmet broke under the impact. He woke up able to move only his eyes. Blinking in a yes-or-no binary code was initially his sole form of communication. His father persuaded him to give it time.

Some time later, he was introduced to the Jouse, a mouth-operable mouse that made computer use accessible. Worrall began playing "Diablo," and he was hooked.

Known online as "No Hands Ken," Worrall streams his play live to a mass audience via Twitch. By placing the Jouse in in his mouth and puffing it, he is able to right-click; by "sipping," he can left-click. According to a Reddit AMA he held after his story's release on YouTube, it took Worrall about a month to master gameplay with the Jouse. And now hundreds of thousands of people have seen him play.

Worrall never expected to catch people's attention -- or hearts -- in the way he has. When asked during his Reddit AMA how many people he expected to watch him, he wrote, "Maybe thirty?... When I was in the thousands I was in a loss for words and I had tears running down my face because I've never had that sort of reaction from that many people loving me and wanting the best for me. It made me feel incredible."

According to an interview with CTV News, one of his viewers recently wrote him a letter, saying, "I was about to shoot myself." The man who had considered disconnecting is now saving others' lives.

Worrall has big plans for his future. He's already fundraising so that he can attend BlizzCon, a gaming convention in California, and is considering becoming a motivational speaker.

"I am ready to talk to the world about me, my injury and how I live positive every day," he wrote on Reddit.

It's clear he's off to a strong start.



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