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'Ben' There, Doing That

Updated: Friday, May 23 2014, 11:24 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

December 19, 2014 08:05 GMT

NFL

Thursday's Game

Jacksonville 21, Tennessee 13

Saturday's Games

Philadelphia at Washington, 4:30 p.m.

San Diego at San Francisco, 8:25 p.m.

Sunday's Games

Baltimore at Houston, 1 p.m.

Detroit at Chicago, 1 p.m.

Atlanta at New Orleans, 1 p.m.

Minnesota at Miami, 1 p.m.

Cleveland at Carolina, 1 p.m.

Green Bay at Tampa Bay, 1 p.m.

Kansas City at Pittsburgh, 1 p.m.

New England at N.Y. Jets, 1 p.m.

N.Y. Giants at St. Louis, 4:05 p.m.

Buffalo at Oakland, 4:25 p.m.

Indianapolis at Dallas, 4:25 p.m.

Seattle at Arizona, 8:30 p.m.

Monday's Game

Denver at Cincinnati, 8:30 p.m.

NBA

Thursday's Games

Chicago 103, New York 97

New Orleans 99, Houston 90

Milwaukee 108, Sacramento 107

Golden State 114, Oklahoma City 109

Friday's Games

Charlotte at Philadelphia, 7 p.m.

Utah at Orlando, 7 p.m.

Washington at Miami, 7:30 p.m.

Toronto at Detroit, 7:30 p.m.

Minnesota at Boston, 7:30 p.m.

Brooklyn at Cleveland, 7:30 p.m.

Chicago at Memphis, 8 p.m.

Portland at San Antonio, 8 p.m.

L.A. Clippers at Denver, 9 p.m.

Oklahoma City at L.A. Lakers, 10:30 p.m.

NHL

Thursday's Games

Florida 2, Philadelphia 1, SO

Pittsburgh 1, Colorado 0, OT

Carolina 4, Toronto 1

Washington 5, Columbus 4, OT

Anaheim 2, Montreal 1

Los Angeles 6, St. Louis 4

San Jose 4, Edmonton 3

Friday's Games

Tampa Bay at New Jersey, 7 p.m.

Anaheim at Ottawa, 7:30 p.m.

N.Y. Islanders at Detroit, 7:30 p.m.

Boston at Winnipeg, 8 p.m.

Dallas at Calgary, 9 p.m.

Longhorn Football Scoreboard

Longhorn Football News

 

KEYE-TV Sports Team


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