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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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August 29, 2015 07:16 GMT

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Friday's Scores

INTERLEAGUE

Final Boston 6 N-Y Mets 4, 10 Innings

Final N-Y Yankees 15 Atlanta 4

Final Arizona 6 Oakland 4

AMERICAN LEAGUE

Final Toronto 5 Detroit 3

Final Kansas City 3 Tampa Bay 2

Final Cleveland 3 L.A. Angels 1

Final Texas 4 Baltimore 1

Final Minnesota 3 Houston 0

Final Seattle 2 Chi White Sox 0

NATIONAL LEAGUE

Final Pittsburgh 5 Colorado 3

Final Miami 4 Washington 3

Final Philadelphia 7 San Diego 1

Final Milwaukee 5 Cincinnati 0

Final L.A. Dodgers 4 Chi Cubs 1

Final San Francisco 5 St. Louis 4

NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE PRESEASON

Final New England 17 Carolina 16

Final Detroit 22 Jacksonville 17

Final Kansas City 34 Tennessee 10

WNBA BASKETBALL

Final Atlanta 90 Indiana 84

Final Washington 71 Phoenix 63

Final New York 81 Minnesota 68

Final Tulsa 76 Los Angeles 66

Final Seattle 83 San Antonio 69

Saturday's Schedule - All Times EDT

BASEBALL

Detroit at Toronto, 1:07 p.m.

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

Boston at N.Y. Mets, 4:05 p.m.

Kansas City at Tampa Bay, 6:10 p.m.

Miami at Washington, 7:05 p.m.

San Diego at Philadelphia, 7:05 p.m.

Colorado at Pittsburgh, 7:05 p.m.

L.A. Angels at Cleveland, 7:10 p.m.

Houston at Minnesota, 7:10 p.m.

Seattle at Chicago White Sox, 7:10 p.m.

Cincinnati at Milwaukee, 7:10 p.m.

N.Y. Yankees at Atlanta, 7:10 p.m.

Baltimore at Texas, 8:05 p.m.

Oakland at Arizona, 8:10 p.m.

Chicago Cubs at L.A. Dodgers, 9:10 p.m.

PRESEASON NFL

Pittsburgh at Buffalo, 4 p.m.

Minnesota at Dallas, 7 p.m.

Cleveland at Tampa Bay, 7 p.m.

Atlanta at Miami, 7 p.m.

N.Y. Jets at N.Y. Giants, 7 p.m.

Chicago at Cincinnati, 7:30 p.m.

Washington at Baltimore, 7:30 p.m.

Seattle at San Diego, 8 p.m.

Philadelphia at Green Bay, 8 p.m.

Indianapolis at St. Louis, 8 p.m.

San Francisco at Denver, 9 p.m.

WNBA

New York at Connecticut, 7 p.m.

Chicago at Atlanta, 7 p.m.

MLS

Columbus at New York City FC, 4 p.m.

Montreal at Toronto FC, 4 p.m.

New England at Philadelphia, 7 p.m.

Chicago at Orlando City, 7:30 p.m.

Vancouver at Houston, 9 p.m.

Real Salt Lake at FC Dallas, 9 p.m.

Sporting Kansas City at Colorado, 9 p.m.

LITTLE LEAGUE WORLD SERIES

At Williamsport, Pa.

International Championship: Tokyo vs. Mexicali Baja California, Mexico, 12:30 p.m.

United States Championship: Lewisberry, Pa. vs. Pearland, Texas, 3:30 p.m.

Sunday's Schedule - All Times EDT

BASEBALL

Detroit at Toronto, 1:07 p.m.

L.A. Angels at Cleveland, 1:10 p.m.

Kansas City at Tampa Bay, 1:10 p.m.

Boston at N.Y. Mets, 1:10 p.m.

N.Y. Yankees at Atlanta, 1:35 p.m.

Colorado at Pittsburgh, 1:35 p.m.

San Diego at Philadelphia, 1:35 p.m.

Miami at Washington, 1:35 p.m.

Seattle at Chicago White Sox, 2:10 p.m.

Houston at Minnesota, 2:10 p.m.

Cincinnati at Milwaukee, 2:10 p.m.

Baltimore at Texas, 3:05 p.m.

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

Oakland at Arizona, 4:10 p.m.

Chicago Cubs at L.A. Dodgers, 8:08 p.m.

PRESEASON NFL

Houston at New Orleans, 4 p.m.

Arizona at Oakland, 8 p.m.

WNBA

Indiana at Tulsa, 4:30 p.m.

San Antonio at Los Angeles, 7 p.m.

Connecticut at Chicago, 7 p.m.

Phoenix at Minnesota, 7 p.m.

Washington at Seattle, 9 p.m.

MLS

Portland at Seattle, 5 p.m.

D.C. United at New York, 7 p.m.

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KEYE-TV Sports Team


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