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Andrew Pates Jr. was on the cusp of a new adventure.

Once a teacher near Chicago and later a lawyer in San Diego, the 68-year-old retiree was ready to move to Mound Bayou and build a hotel. Then a freak fall in a parking lot put everything on hold.

“I hit the back of my head and they said if I had taken the blow a little higher, I would have been DOA,” Pates said.

Instead, he survived the accident only to become “an upside down paraplegic.” His legs could move, but his upper body was rigid.

“My shoulders were frozen and getting progressively worse,” he said.

Like a lot of new fathers, Frank Elam Sr. of Eupora was awed by the arrival of his firstborn on Aug. 9.

“It was not real to me until that point,” he said. “Then I was like: ‘Oh man, this is a human—my little human.’”

Just 40 days before, it was up in the air whether Elam would be on hand to welcome his son into the world. On June 30, a car wreck paralyzed Elam, just a month before the original due date for Franklin Darnell Elam Jr.

The thought of having a stroke in his 40s had never really crossed Greg Plump’s mind.

Until it happened.

“It just came out of the blue,” said Plump, who is 48. “I was working out every day and I tried to eat healthy.”

Plump has always been fit and athletic. A former Mississippi State University quarterback, he’s best remembered for taking over after Sleepy Robinson was injured in the 1992 season.

When it was time to pick a topic for his high school senior project, Chandler Norman wanted to learn more about the world of prosthetics.

And with good reason. The 18-year-old from Sebastopol had his left leg amputated above the knee following an ATV accident in early 2016. He then learned to walk again with a custom prosthetic leg built by Methodist Orthotics & Prosthetics in Flowood.

This time of year, people hardly notice the number of bird baths, pet bowls and flower pots in yards across the South.

But Dr. Art Leis and Sharon Sims see the containers as incubators for the enemy.

Many of the vessels contain squiggly colonies of mosquito larvae. And after the baby bloodsuckers hatch, they tend to bite the hand that grew them.

“If you are raising mosquitoes in your backyard, that’s where they are going to live,” said Sims, president of the Mississippi-based Mosquito Illness Alliance (MIA). “They don’t fly very far.”

As a District 37 state representative for 18 years, Gary Chism of Columbus is familiar with Mississippi’s health care capabilities.

But it took a blood clot in his brain to help him fully appreciate the stroke expertise of two Jackson hospitals.

“You don’t realize until you need it how much difference it makes,” said Chism, who suffered a stroke on April 6.

Methodist Rehabilitation Center in Jackson has named its Employees of the Quarter for the second quarter of 2018.

Brianna May of Pelahatchie was named Clinical Services Employee of the Quarter. She serves as a radiological technician for the hospital’s radiology department.

Kyle Hairston of Madison was named Support Services Employee of the Quarter. He serves as biomedical technician for the hospital.

Claire Spencer has returned to teaching history at Ridgeland’s Christ Covenant School (CCS), just a year after she suffered a stroke that almost completely paralyzed her left side.

The transformation amazes outpatient occupational therapist Kari Richeson, who treated Spencer while working part-time at Methodist Rehabilitation Center’s inpatient facility in Jackson.

After 25 years of helping people overcome brain injuries, Dr. Stuart Yablon often fears the worst for victims of penetrating gunshots to the head.

“It’s a high mortality group,” said the physical medicine and rehabilitation physician at Methodist Rehabilitation Center in Jackson, Miss. “A lot of patients die before they get to the hospital, and those that do make it tend not to do well.”

From the seat of her wheelchair, Sheila Burnham of Madison has hunted everything from Mississippi deer to African Cape Buffalo.

But on a recent Thursday morning, her prey was a paper target. She was among the participants in a Shooting Para Sport Clinic at Two Gun Tactical in Flowood.

The April 12 clinic was the first of three organized by Ginny Boydston, director of the adaptive sports and recreation program at Methodist Rehabilitation Center in Jackson. Marksmanship clinics also have been scheduled for Gulfport on May 10 and Tupelo on May 17.