It all happened in May 2010, at the end of my sophomore year. Here is a little background, though. During my Freshman year, I was big into sports. I played soccer, tennis, and I wrestled. I loved competition. Soccer was my favorite game to play, but later on it was wrestling. When I first began playing soccer for the high school team, I was on defense. After soccer season was over, wrestling season began. In my Freshman year I wrestled in weight class 160 and I had a win loss record of 1-27. Bad record, but it was my first year. Tennis season started after wrestling, and I wasn’t great, but my hard work caused the other players to step up their game. Also, during my Freshman year of high school, in December 2009, it was my 15th birthday and I passed my drivers permit test. I loved driving.
When the next year rolled around, I was a goalie for the soccer team. The soccer coach once told me that I was one of the most brutal goalies that ever played on his team. There is a funny story about one of the games, but that will be saved for another day. After soccer was over, I began wrestling again and dropped down to weight class 145. By the end of the season, I had a win loss of 14-9. I had improved tremendously. I was awarded with a trophy from the wrestling coaches for most improved. Tennis was the same as the year before, but it was good to stay in shape and be around friends. I also managed to get my license on my birthday. Freedom at last. I would hang out with my friends a lot at their house, or at the bowling alley. I’d also take girls out on dates, and I could get dates easy. It was a good life.
Well, in May 2010, it was on a Friday, five days before summer break began. I got ready for school and hopped into my 1997 GMC Sonoma. One of the things I had to do on my way to school was to cross two North bound lanes of highway traffic to reach the South bound lanes that would take me to school. When I went to cross the North bound lanes, I accidentally pulled out in front of a semi. The semi hit my drivers side door going 65 mph. This flipped my life upside down. From the scene of the accident, it looked like I was going to die. It was bad. The paramedics were afraid for my life, so they called for a helicopter. The AirVac team said that the weather conditions did not permit for safe flight, so they were unable to assist. Then, the team members found out how old I was and suited up. They were going to risk their life to save a child’s life. Mine.
Before too long, the AirVac had arrived on the scene, loaded me up, and flew to the St. Louis Children’s Hospital. The hospital was about 75 miles away, but I was there in less than 25 minutes. When I was unloaded and brought inside, the workers there began running tests on me. Before too long, they found out that I shattered my C4 spinal vertebrae. That’s part of the spine which is located on the back of the neck. Because of the shattered bone, they needed to remove that part of my spine and fuse my C3 an C5 with a titanium cage. When one of my parents arrived not long after I was there, they gave the authorization for the neurosurgeon to go into operation. For the next 8 hours, I was in the surgery room with a team of skilled professionals trying to save my life. After the surgery, they could only wait and see if I would survive. I was connected to oxygen and feeding tubes. The doctor even had a small hole drilled into the top of my head to relieve pressure on the brain.
After a couple days passed, the doctor was more positive that I would make it. But, they told my parents that I would be paralyzed from my shoulders down, unable to move.
When I first remember waking up from the accident, I thought I was dreaming. I woke up three weeks after the wreck. I don’t remember much from waking up. I was not in the hospital. I was in The Rehabilitation Institute of St. Louis. From what I have been told, I was in the Intensive Care Unit at the hospital for six days and I was recovering remarkably. So, I was moved to regular care and remained there for six days. Then, I transferred to the rehab. When I woke up and thought I was dreaming, I just went back to sleep thinking I would get up and go to school the next day. When I woke up again, I realized I wasn’t dreaming. My parents were there by my side and they told me what had happened. It surprised me at first, but didn’t really hit me as to how much my life would change.
I remember waking up the second time and seeing a note from my girlfriend that was hanging on the wall. It said she loved me and wished for me to get better. About a week later, my girlfriend broke up with me. Shattered my heart and she was the first girl I cried over. I will never forget her and I miss her sometimes, but there are better things in life.
I was in the rehab for 4 months. Managed to walk out of there. When I went to see my surgeon who said I’d be paralyzed, I was sitting in a wheelchair. Then he knocked on the rooms door and came in. I stood up, walked to him, and shook his hand. Thanked him and he was shocked haha. Asked him what else I may regain, but he said that “all bets are off” because he didn’t know what to expect anymore.