Entries in Paralyzed (3)


Chicago HS Student Paralyzed in Shooting Goes to Prom

ABC News(CHICAGO) -- A Chicago high school senior who was paralyzed in a shooting last year didn't let his injuries stop him from enjoying one senior year highlight, his prom.

Miles Turner, a student at Leo High School in Chicago, was talking with his cousin when they became the targets of gunshots last October. Although police said Turner's cousin was the main target, Turner was hit five times. His cousin was killed.

Chicago's murder rate has risen over the last year even as it has decreased in other major American cities.

Turner survived his injuries after spending two months in the ICU and six weeks in a coma. The former 300-pound linebacker lost a third of his body weight while in recovery.

Although his spine was not hit in the shooting, it is unclear how much mobility he will have in the future. He was confined to a wheelchair after the shooting, he has very limited mobility in his legs. Turner was recently released from a rehab center.

Turner's mother, Angela Turner, said doctors weren't sure if he would be able to walk again due to his injuries, which have left his spine in "sleep mode."

"The way he's fighting, saying, 'I'm going to do it,' who knows?" she told ABC News station WLS-TV in Chicago.

On Friday, Turner prepped for his prom by cutting off his dreadlocks and dressing in a white tux with a blue vest. His family made him pose for a photo before he left for the dance.

Surrounded by family and friends eager to get a picture of him, he summed up how he felt about their support in three words: "Good. Honored. Surprised."

At the dance, Turner was joined by a group of friends wearing variations on his tuxedo. They crowded around him for a group photo.

"We played football for four years together. I was shocked to hear the news what happened that day," fellow student Jordan Smiley said. "I'm glad to see him now."

Turner is set to graduate in June and plans on attending college. Although he cannot currently walk, Turner plans on accomplishing another goal: playing college football.

"I want to go to college and play football," Turner told WLS-TV. "Football is my favorite sport. It's all I know."

While Turner has a long road ahead of him before he reaches a full recovery, he's determined.

"Just don't stop, don't quit, keep fighting," Turner said."Good things will happen."

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Man Turns Tragic Paralysis Into Life’s Work

Credit: Ville Juurikkala(NEW YORK) -- Six years ago, Janne Kouri was told he would never walk again after a freak accident diving into the ocean paralyzed him from the neck down, fracturing his spinal cord in two places.

Rather than take his devastating diagnosis at face value, Kouri never gave up hope, teaching his spine to function again, and reached milestones in his recovery doctors thought he’d never see: first, wiggling his toes, then gaining enough function in his legs to walk with a walker, and most recently, standing up on his own without a walker in February 2012.

“It’s true that if you stay focused and work every single day, you really can do whatever you set your mind to,” Kouri, 37, of Manhattan Beach, Calif., said in an interview with Robin Roberts in February 2012 after standing on his own for the first time. “The sky’s the limit. We’ll be walking one day soon.”

Turning his tragedy into a life’s work, Kouri started NextStep Fitness, a non-profit rehab facility in Los Angeles to help those with paralysis and other disabilities get affordable, cutting-edge training.

Therapy known as “loco-motor training,” which teaches the spinal cord how to control motor functions like walking, through repetitive motion, helped Kouri get back on his feet, but his treatment options weren’t always so bright.

After the Aug. 2006 accident, Kouri nearly died, twice, but his resolve only strengthened. With support from his now wife, Susan Kouri, who stayed at his side through it all, the two set out to find treatment options and decided to move to Louisville, Ky., to receive the intensive therapy at the Frazier Rehabilitation Institute — the only place where it was offered.

Loco-motor training has helped hundreds of spinal cord injury victims, including the late actor Christopher Reeve, who was among the first test subjects, but it was not available in California or anywhere west of the Mississippi, Kouri said.

“We brought this to my father and my family and my friends saying ‘Hey, we need to do something about the situation. I can’t find the type of treatment and rehab that I want in California,” he said. “That means that nobody there can,” he said.

Kouri’s story of determination and strength first appeared on “Good Morning America” in July 2009.

“The amount of people that reached out to us afterwards is truly incredible,” he said. “It resonated with so many people around the country going through similar situations … and other people being able to see that there is hope after injury.”

Since then, NextStep has served the paralyzed and disabled community, rehabbing those who came from nearby and across the country to get access to the promising treatment.

Kouri recalls one man who drove across the country from his home in Maine to get therapy at NextStep after the ABC News report.

“There was a gentleman who had a very severe brain injury … One day I was sitting in the office and this guy came into the gym. His name is Jake, probably around 27 or 28 … he saw the story, hopped in his car and it took him close to a month, and he showed up at NextStep and said, ‘I saw this story and I knew this is the place that I had to go.’”

Jake worked out at NextStep, got into much better physical shape, Kouri said, and ended up going back to Maine to return to school.

Kouri plans to expand NextStep across the country in Washington, D.C., but first in New York.

“We are opening a facility in New York in partnership with Stony Brook University at their Long Island campus. It’s an amazing opportunity with us to be able to collaborate with such an esteemed university,” he said, noting the facility will be attached to Stony Brook’s Rehabilitation Research and Movement Performance (RRAMP) Laboratory, where paralysis research is conducted, and will likely open in the next 18 to 24 months.

The nonprofit wing of their organization has blossomed as well, launching the Wheelchair for a Day Challenge in a nationwide effort to raise awareness about the daily challenges associated with paralysis, and to raise funding to help build additional rehab centers across the country. The first-ever challenge raised over $90,000, he said.

“There are so many people in desperate need of help and don’t have access to a facility like NextStep and are struggling in so many ways,” he said.

Soon enough that will change, if Kouri has anything to say about it.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


School District Pays Out $4.2M to Student Paralyzed by Bully Attack

Comstock/Thinkstock(RAMSEY, N.J.) -- Sawyer Rosenstein’s life changed on May 16, 2006, when he was a 12-year-old student at Eric Smith Middle School in Ramsey, N.J. That day, another student punched him in the abdomen, sending a blood clot to his spine, and eventually paralyzing him from the waist down a week later.

Rosenstein, who has been in a wheelchair for the past six years, is now a college student, and the case he and his family brought against the school district was settled this week for $4.2 million.  The family’s attorney, Jeffrey Youngman, told ABC News that this case is unique; he doesn’t know of any other bullying case that has resulted in a larger settlement based on personal injury.

“This was a three-pronged case,” he told ABC News. “We had to show that his paralysis was a result of the punch. We also found that the school knew Sawyer had been regularly bullied, and didn’t do anything about it, and that the other student had showed violent propensities, and they didn’t do anything about that either.”

Rosenstein had sent emails to several school administrators in the months before the paralyzing punch telling them he was being bullied, at one point even saying he wanted to get it all “on record” in case anything happened to him in the future. He addressed emails to both the school guidance counselor and assistant principal, informing them of the bullying and asking for help.

Youngman found that there had been at least three separate reports, one involving police, of the other student violently bullying his classmates, but the school didn’t keep any paperwork documenting investigations or any documents showing disciplinary actions.

After the settlement was reached, the Ramsey Board of Education released a statement denying any wrongdoing, and saying that the district’s insurance carriers agreed to the settlement and will pay it out.

The family chose to make this case public, Youngman said, in order to help educate students and schools about what should be done about bullying.

New Jersey enacted a tough new anti-bullying law last year, but Youngman says such laws are useless unless they are enforced and adequately funded.

A separate, confidential settlement was reached with the family of the student who punched Rosenstein.

Rosenstein decided to study communications at Syracuse University after he attended last year’s final space shuttle launch as a credentialed media member.

“This is a case of triumph and moving on,” Youngman told ABC News. “Bullying is a real problem, and hopefully this family’s courage can help show people what can happen, and how to stop it.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio