Teen with spinal cord injury takes steps toward recovery

Our Miami personal injury blog has previously discussed the importance of safety in teen sports, especially in physical contact sports in which individuals are more prone to suffering concussions that can lead to severe brain injuries. But these contact sports, such as football, can also cause individuals to suffer spinal cord injuries. One wrong fall or hit from another player could result in a permanent injury.

One teen seriously injured during a sports game is now making an unlikely comeback. The 18-year-old suffered a severe spinal cord injury in 2009 while playing football for his high school.

After tackling a quarterback that was trying to score a touchdown, the quarterback got up and kneed the teenager in the face mask. His head and neck whipped back and then he blacked out. The force of the other player’s knee had snapped his neck, paralyzing him.

Paramedics quickly escorted the teen to Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center. A doctor at the medical center reported that the injury was beyond severe. The only thing doctors can do in a case such as this is stabilize the spine and hope for the best. Doctors at the medical center spent nine hours stabilizing the teen’s spine. Many people who have suffered a spinal cord injury such as this do not survive for more than two months, yet this young man did.

The teen has been attending physical rehabilitation regularly ever since. His hard work and determination are paying off and he is making great progress considering the expectations surrounding such an injury. He can now use both of his arms and is able to walk between 20 and 30 steps with leg braces. Recently added to the teen’s regiment was an experimental medication that may help his spinal cord to heal.

Although the teen is taking great steps toward recovery, not all victims who suffer such injuries are as fortunate. A spinal cord injury resulting from a serious car crash on our Miami roads or a fall at one’s work can cause permanent paralysis, requiring an individual to spend the rest of his or her life in a wheelchair.

Source:KABC: “Teen w/severe spine injury making comeback,” Denise Dador, 24 June 2011