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Texas Longhorn Legend Helps Paralyzed Teenager

Updated: Saturday, August 3 2013, 09:47 PM CDT


Ben Waker is a 15 year old freshman who recently came to Austin. He had been living in Ohio, a state almost as crazy about football as we are down in Texas. Growing up near Dayton, Ben actually started playing in the third grade. Now, football is not what brought him to the Lone Star State, but a football player is helping him get home.

At an early age, Ben Waker fell fast for the fast lane.

"I've wanted to drive since I was eight years old," recalled Ben.

But 15 months before his 16th birthday, the kid who dreamed of being behind the wheel had his life turn down a much different road.

"I stood up and then the board just turned on me," said Ben. "I was face down in the water. I was trying to paddle to get up and breathe but I couldn't."

A surfing accident broke Ben's 6th and 7th vertebrae. He had no feeling and no movement. He was 14 years old and paralyzed.

"He knew we were there," said Patty Waker, Ben's mother. "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.

"The absolute greatest gift anyone could ever give you is to offer to help your child," said Patty. "We are forever grateful."

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."

Before coming to Austin in January, Ben could not lift his arm above his head. But six hours a day, five days a week at the Health South Rehabilitation Hospital has Waker nearly fully independent. And even though he doesn't have total feeling back, Ben is not feeling sorry for himself.

"I have bad moments but I never have a bad day," said Ben. "It could always be worse, that's what I keep thinking to myself."

They're still not sure if Ben will be behind the wheel for his 16th birthday or at any time for that matter. But even if he never puts a car in gear, Waker has already shown us a thing or two about drive - even if it's down a road he never could have mapped.

"As bad as our situation is, so many people have it so much worse," admitted Patty. "So you just try and stay positive and look for the good in things, work hard and try and make the best of it."

By Adam Winkler

Texas Longhorn Legend Helps Paralyzed Teenager


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Scores & Schedules

August 29, 2014 09:13 GMT

AMERICAN LEAGUE

Detroit 3 N-Y Yankees 2

Baltimore 5 Tampa Bay 4

Cleveland 3 Chi White Sox 2

Minnesota 11 Kansas City 5, 10 Innings

Houston 4 Texas 2

L.A. Angels 4 Oakland 3, 10 Innings

NATIONAL LEAGUE

Cincinnati 7 Chi Cubs 2

San Francisco 4 Colorado 1

Atlanta 6 N-Y Mets 1

AMERICAN LEAGUE Friday's Games

Minnesota (May 0-3) at Baltimore (Mi.Gonzalez 6-7), 7:05 p.m.

N.Y. Yankees (Capuano 1-3) at Toronto (Buehrle 11-8), 7:07 p.m.

Boston (Ranaudo 2-0) at Tampa Bay (Archer 8-6), 7:10 p.m.

Cleveland (Salazar 4-6) at Kansas City (J.Vargas 10-6), 8:10 p.m.

Detroit (Verlander 11-11) at Chicago White Sox (Carroll 5-8), 8:10 p.m.

Texas (Undecided) at Houston (Oberholtzer 4-9), 8:10 p.m.

Oakland (Lester 13-8) at L.A. Angels (Weaver 14-7), 10:05 p.m.

NATIONAL LEAGUE Friday's Games

Cincinnati (Leake 10-11) at Pittsburgh (Volquez 11-7), 7:05 p.m.

Philadelphia (D.Buchanan 6-7) at N.Y. Mets (deGrom 6-6), 7:10 p.m.

Miami (Koehler 9-9) at Atlanta (E.Santana 13-7), 7:35 p.m.

Chicago Cubs (Hendricks 5-1) at St. Louis (S.Miller 8-9), 8:15 p.m.

Colorado (Bergman 1-2) at Arizona (Collmenter 9-7), 9:40 p.m.

L.A. Dodgers (Haren 11-10) at San Diego (Cashner 2-6), 10:10 p.m.

Milwaukee (W.Peralta 15-8) at San Francisco (Vogelsong 7-9), 10:15 p.m.

INTERLEAGUE

Washington (Zimmermann 9-5) at Seattle (F.Hernandez 13-4), 10:10 p.m.

NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE PRESEASON

Atlanta 24 Jacksonville 14

Detroit 23 Buffalo 0

Cincinnati 35 Indianapolis 7

Green Bay 34 Kansas City 14

Philadelphia 37 N-Y Jets 7

Miami 14 St. Louis 13

Carolina 10 Pittsburgh 0

N-Y Giants 16 New England 13

Washington 24 Tampa Bay 10

Baltimore 22 New Orleans 13

Cleveland 33 Chicago 13

Denver 27 Dallas 3

Minnesota 19 Tennessee 3

San Francisco 40 Houston 13

San Diego 12 Arizona 9

Oakland 41 Seattle 31

TOP-25 COLLEGE FOOTBALL

(21) Texas A-and-M 52 ( 9) South Carolina 28

(18) Mississippi 35 Boise State 13

(19) Arizona State 45 Weber State 14

Friday's Game

No. 8 Michigan State vs. Jacksonville State, 7:30 p.m.

Longhorn Football Scoreboard

Longhorn Football News

 

KEYE-TV Sports Team


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