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Spinal Cord Injury

Now I Can... get my life back.

When Idaho native Janet Henry was hit by a car while cycling on the Natchez Trace, the impact fractured her spine in three places, broke seven ribs, bruised her brain and shattered bones in her left arm.

It was a devastating outcome for an adventure-seeker who loves biking, kayaking, dancing and traveling cross country in her RV. “But if it had to happen, what a great place for it to happen,” she said. “I’ve been blessed with angels who care every step of the way.”

“Spinal cord injury care begins at the scene” Methodist Rehab physician says rescuers helped Delta farmer avoid paralysis after truck v. tractor crash

Miller King of Greenwood had one thing running through his mind as rescuers raced to remove him from his crumpled tractor cab on Feb. 15.

“Keep breathing. You’ve got to get back to them.”

King was thinking of his wife and three kids, and whether he’d survive being hit from behind by a 1-ton, dually truck pulling a gooseneck equipment hauler.

'The Lord was watching out for me': Flora hunter grateful to be walking again after suffering several fractures in 22-foot tree stand fall

On Oct. 24, Jody Jones of Flora added irony to injury.

While trying to remove an unsafe tree stand, he fell 22 feet to the ground.

The impact crushed his right heel and fractured his right femur, pelvis and some vertebra in his spine.

Still, Jones feels fortunate. “I don’t know how I landed like I did. I should have landed flat on my back or head,” he said. “The Lord was watching out for me is all I can say.”

Country strong: Through therapy at MRC, Kalyn Smith strives to get back to the farm, back to college and back in the saddle after a life-changing horse-riding accident

After she broke her spine in a horse-riding accident, Kalyn Smith adjusted to her new normal the only way she knew how: by taking the reins.

“I remember when she first got here,” said Jacob Long, her physical therapist while at Methodist Rehabilitation Center in Jackson. “At the first session, she said ‘I want to do everything I need to do to get as mobile as I can, to get back out there and do the things I want to do.’”

‘I didn’t think I was going to live’: Coast retiree learns to adapt after paralyzing tree stand fall

Matt Dubuisson thought he was going to die.

The Pass Christian 60-year-old had fallen some 25 feet from a tree stand. And when he hit the ground, he “felt and heard” bones breaking.

“I knew it was bad when I reached and felt my legs and couldn’t feel anything,” he said.

The impact fractured 12 ribs, his sternum and broke his back in three places. One vertebra shattered “like a brick that had been thrown against concrete.”

“After my CAT scan, they said my chance of walking again was not good,” he said.

Former Ole Miss running back tackles quest to walk again with trademark determination

As a running back for the 1989 Ole Miss Rebels, Drew native Ed Thigpen amassed 327 yards rushing, scored five touchdowns and made the front page of USA Today.

Yet he says the best moment in his life happened in the therapy gym of Methodist Rehabilitation Center in Jackson.

“I stood up without needing anything for one minute,” he said.

That might seem a tiny victory for someone Ole Miss Coach Billy Brewer called “my kind of guy” for his hard-nosed playing style.

But Thigpen had been humbled by a health scare he never expected.

Stepping up: Dr. Jennifer Villacorta named Methodist Rehabilitation Center’s new medical director

Dr. Jennifer Villacorta can’t say she ever saw herself as a medical director.

“They are usually older, and I’m still wearing headbands,” she joked.

But when she was offered the position at Methodist Rehabilitation Center, the spinal cord injury specialist decided to “step up to it.”

“After being on the front lines as a physician, I realize there is so much you can do for patients and the medical team when you have a voice. And that’s what I’m excited about.”

High achiever: MRC physical therapist receives 2019 ASIA Research Award

Jacob Long’s list of titles can be a mouthful.

He’s a doctor of physical therapy (DPT). He earned his assistive technology professional (ATP) and seating and mobility specialist (SMS) certifications from the Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology Society of North America (RESNA). And he’s a neuro clinical specialist (NCS), a distinction bestowed by the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties (ABPTS).

“It can be hard for even me to keep all of those acronyms straight,” he said.

Faster and better: Methodist Orthotics & Prosthetics offers free screenings for Bioness L300 Go, an advanced neuroprosthetic device for controlling foot drop

It’s been over seven years since Stevelyn Robinson was paralyzed in a school bus crash, and he hasn’t stopped fighting. He continues to progress through regular physical therapy at Methodist Outpatient Therapy in Ridgeland.

With the help of a walker, the Winona native walked across the stage at his 2016 graduation from Holmes Community College. Now a student at the University of Mississippi, he is working hard so he can do the same again.

‘I did what I was supposed to do’: Meridian athlete Alixus Hearn sets goals, gives it her all to overcome paralyzing spinal injury

On a misty fall afternoon, Alixus Hearn crashed her car just down the road from Northeast Lauderdale High School in Meridian.

“I was heading to the field when I heard sirens going off everywhere,” said Tyler Vick, head coach for the school’s slow pitch softball team. “The principal called and said there had been an accident. And your heart just drops.”

A right center fielder for the Trojans, Alixus is someone “everyone loved to be around,” Vick said. And it hurt to tell her teammates that she was fighting for her life.


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