07/27/2012 09:11 EDT | Updated 09/26/2012 05:12 EDT

Gander man hopes he'll fit inside new MRI machine

Tom Whalen, 35, has been booked for an appointment with a new MRI machine in St. John's, but whether he will be able to fit inside the piece of medical equipment remains to be seen.

Whalen, who weighs 275 pounds and has wide shoulders, was told by medical officials he was too big to fit into any of the five existing MRI machines in Newfoundland and Labrador. Whalen had been unsuccessfully lobbying the Newfoundland and Labrador government to pay for him to travel outside the province to get an MRI in a larger machine.

Now, Whalen said his doctors hope he will be able to fit inside a new MRI machine in St. John's.

Whalen was struck in the head by a softball during a game in Gander on June 19, which left him with a severe concussion and paralysis in both legs.

His doctors recommended that he get an MRI to help figure out if he will be able to walk again.

Whalen had been lobbying politicians, health officials and the media in an attempt to get the medical care.

"We have to get things changed here in Newfoundland and we shouldn't have to fight so hard to get stuff done," said Whalen. We're supposed to have a universal health care system. That means that we don't exclude people of certain sizes."

Whalen's appointment has been set for July 31, and after that, he'll see a neurologist who will try to determine if he will be able to regain the use of his legs.