- WWE Hall of Famer Roddy Piper dies at 61
- Tom Brady's suspension upheld by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell
- 2015 Big 12 Wooly Bully
- Astros move up Taylor Swift concert for possible playoff run
- No Spieth Slam: Jordan Comes Up Short at Open
- Steve Patterson: Keep the Change?
- Longhorn Taylor Funk Wins 109th Southern Amateur
- Steve Patterson Under Pressure
- Mason Crosby "Kicks It" Back at Home
- Oh, Deere! Spieth Wins Another John Deere Classic
- That's a Rap: Texas Exes Dish on Daje
- Spieth Shoots Career Best 61 to Lead John Deere
- Winners Crowned at UA/Jordan Spieth Championship
- Jordan Spieth Wins U.S. Open
- Longhorns Lend a Hand in Wimberly
- Spieth Stands 18 Holes from U.S. Open Title
- UT Austin announces independent review of basketball academics
- Diamond Departures for Longhorns
- World Cup Company at UT
- Massive Surf Park Coming To Austin In 2016
- Texas Season Ends with 8-1 Loss to DBU
- Oregon State's Eckert Has Texas Ties
- Texas Wins Big 12 Baseball Title
- Texas to Play for Big 12 Baseball Title
- A Dom-inant Lacrosse Presence
- Shaka Smart 1 on 1: Part II
- Shaka Smart 1 on 1: Part 1
- Josh Hamilton Returns to Round Rock
- Pfast Pflugerville Pfamily
- NFL Finds Patriots Employees Probably Deflated Balls
- Cowboys Catch Free-Falling Gregory
- Malcom Brown Drafted by Patriots
- Texas Swept by TCU
- Isaiah Taylor to Return for Junior Season at Texas
- Austin in Play for MLS Expansion
- Express Host 5th Annual Bark in the Park
- Spring Separation? Swoopes Still Longhorns Starter
- ESPN Reporter Suspended Over Rant Caught On Video
- Coaching Connection: Shyatt Has History with Barnes and Shaka
- Hail Mary Highlights Texas State Spring Game
- Buyouts For Shaka Smart, Rick Barnes Add Up For UT
- Texas Hires Shaka Smart
- Rick Barnes Era Ends at Texas
- Boyer, Harris Turn Heads Again
- Texas is One and Done at NCAA Tournament
- March On: Texas Selected for NCAA Tournament
- Texas Wins on Walk-Off to Start Big 12 Play
- Andy Roddick Foundation Welcomes Tony Dungy
- Buzzer Beater Bounces Longhorns
- Texas House Panel Mulls Open, Campus Carry Proposals
'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