|10-03-2007, 07:48 AM||#1|
Join Date: Dec 2002
bicyclist almost dies after crashing in ditch ,sustains cervical sci
He lay tangled in a ditch off a secluded Palm Bay road for two hours, pinned under his 15-speed bicycle, fire ants gnawing and swarming over his face -- the only part of his body he could feel.
Johnson Middle teacher Jerry Walker tried to scream but his vocal cords were paralyzed. He grasped for his cell phone but found he couldn't move his hands. He fought to stay conscious until two good Samaritans came to his rescue.
Now as Walker begins his long road to recovery at Holmes Regional Hospital, the seventh-grade world cultures teacher is turning his trauma into a bigger lesson about courage and faith.
And his current and former students -- the countless number that he shepherded through their perilous early- puberty years -- are responding with a message of their own for Walker: We know you'll get through this.
They've sent in "Get Well" cards by the hundreds, encouraging Walker to do whatever it takes -- such as wiggling his toes, tightening his thigh muscles and clenching his fists -- to get back on his feet again.
"He's a cool teacher and so many kids were mad and sad," said seventh-grader J.C. Sims, who sent Snickers bars and a construction-paper football to Walker on Monday. "We all want him to come back now, but we know it will take time."
On most of the brightly colored cards, students wrote the words "Live life with passion"-- a Walker catch phrase he uses for motivation.
Other students sent in their school projects weeks early to inspire him to keep teaching.
They created a DVD for their teacher to watch via portable player at the hospital, with messages from students and an original song from the school choir.
"I sobbed tears of joy when I saw the kids on the video," Walker said. "It's great to see how much they care, how much they are keeping me in their thoughts and prayers."
Johnson teachers plan to create commemorative ribbons and bracelets with Walker's phrase on them. And the Department of Education dispatched an auditory device to the hospital so he can listen to books on tape.
"I've been teaching for 20 years and I've never seen such an outpour," said Johnson's Amy Eller, who co-teaches with Walker and has been coordinating the efforts along with teacher's assistant Meg Ringheiser.
In that predawn darkness of Sept. 17, Walker, who biked twice daily and played semi-pro football for seven years, watched his bike light flicker and die.
He thought he knew the way, but when the road ended abruptly, he was caught off guard and thrown over the handlebars as he traveled about 12 miles per hour.
Walker's head and backbone crunched on the pavement as he spiraled into the swampy ditch, somewhere between Garvey Road and Happiness Avenue.
"It was a little personal hell going on," Walker said of the hours he fought to stay alert. "I felt the ants bite around my head, crawling in my hair."
He was admitted to the hospital fully paralyzed. His neck and mid-backbone were broken.
But as his swelling decreases, Walker's motor functions have returned.
He's able to wiggle his toes and fingers and can press his knees together.
More at link http://tinyurl.com/yut7hd
|10-04-2007, 01:58 AM||#2|
Join Date: Jun 2007
Wow, very similar to what happened to me. I'm glad he got some movement back. I hope his recovery goes well and he gets more movement. Wiggling his toes and fingers is a really good sign. Good for him!
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