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'Ben' There, Doing That

Updated: Friday, May 23 2014, 10:24 AM CDT

While most teenagers dream of a new ride when they turn 16, Ben Waker was getting adjusted to these wheels. Because 15 months before his 16th birthday, Ben's life was re-routed down a much different road.
 
"I was face down in the water," Ben recalled. "I was trying to paddle to get up and breathe but I couldn't."
 
A surfing accident broke Ben's sixth and seventh vertebrae. He had no feeling and no movement. He was 14 years old and paralyzed.
 
"He knew we were there," said Ben's mother Patty. "We reassured him we would do whatever it takes, however long it takes to get him better."
 
There's nothing stronger than a mother's love. Everything is bigger in Texas. Bigger and stronger. That sure sounds like a football player doesn't it?

Doug English, the legendary Longhorns defensive end and College Football Hall of Famer has tackled a new career. As the President of the Lone Star Paralysis Foundation, English gives patients with spinal cord injuries an option for therapy and recovery that is virtually unparalleled in the United States. He personally invited the Wakers to Austin.
 
"There's a place for Ben to go to get better and to get everything back he can get," said English. "That's a success story."

Turns out, that was just the first chapter of Waker's success story. Immediately following his accident, Ben's strength was non-existent.

"Basically his body was taken back to infant state," Patty explained.

But less than two years later, after therapy at the Seton Brain and Spine Recovery Center - often more than 5 hours a day, 5 days a week - week after week - Ben is anything but weak.

"I feel like I've made 100 percent progress since last year," Ben said. "I've doubled my strength. I've been able to do so much more."

He can petal - he can stand - and yes, he can even drive a car. His car. An adapted Dodge Avenger. But any good ride is built with quality parts.

"Mom's been everything to this," Ben added. "She's the reason I am where I am today."

Patty refused to take all the credit. "My husband is at home, working hard to keep this all going," she said. "And I have a daughter who's there and she's been wonderful as well. So it's a whole recipe."

Before arriving in Austin last January, Ben could not hold his hand above his head. He's now lifting a whole lot more than just his arm.

"To face your rehabilitation and recovery with such determination and with a smile on your face is just inspiring," English noted.

by Adam Winkler
'Ben' There, Doing That


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Scores & Schedules

October 31, 2014 07:08 GMT

NFL

Thursday's Game

New Orleans 28, Carolina 10

Sunday's Games

Arizona at Dallas, 1 p.m.

Philadelphia at Houston, 1 p.m.

N.Y. Jets at Kansas City, 1 p.m.

Washington at Minnesota, 1 p.m.

Tampa Bay at Cleveland, 1 p.m.

Jacksonville at Cincinnati, 1 p.m.

San Diego at Miami, 1 p.m.

St. Louis at San Francisco, 4:05 p.m.

Oakland at Seattle, 4:25 p.m.

Denver at New England, 4:25 p.m.

Baltimore at Pittsburgh, 8:30 p.m.

Open: Atlanta, Buffalo, Chicago, Detroit, Green Bay, Tennessee

Monday's Game

Indianapolis at N.Y. Giants, 8:30 p.m.

NBA

Thursday's Games

Washington 105, Orlando 98

Minnesota 97, Detroit 91

New York 95, Cleveland 90

Dallas 120, Utah 102

L.A. Clippers 93, Oklahoma City 90

Friday's Games

Memphis at Indiana, 7 p.m.

Cleveland at Chicago, 8 p.m.

Philadelphia at Milwaukee, 8:30 p.m.

San Antonio at Phoenix, 10 p.m.

Portland at Sacramento, 10 p.m.

L.A. Clippers at L.A. Lakers, 10:30 p.m.

NHL

Thursday's Games

New Jersey 2, Winnipeg 1, SO

Chicago 5, Ottawa 4, SO

Minnesota 4, San Jose 3, SO

Boston 3, Buffalo 2, OT

Pittsburgh 3, Los Angeles 0

Tampa Bay 4, Philadelphia 3

Florida 2, Arizona 1

St. Louis 2, Anaheim 0

Colorado 5, N.Y. Islanders 0

Vancouver 3, Montreal 2, OT

Friday's Games

Toronto at Columbus, 7 p.m.

Los Angeles at Detroit, 7:30 p.m.

Anaheim at Dallas, 8:30 p.m.

Nashville at Calgary, 9 p.m.

MLS PLAYOFFS

KNOCKOUT ROUND Eastern Conference

Thursday, Oct. 30: New York 2, Sporting Kansas City 1

Longhorn Football Scoreboard

Longhorn Football News

 

KEYE-TV Sports Team


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