A freak diving accident in the San Marcos River left him paralyzed from the neck down. Less than a year later the patient is walking again. See how special encouragement helped motivate recovery.
AUSTIN -- Almost a year ago, a Texas State student got a crash course in what it's like to be a paraplegic.
KVUE witnessed the special encouragement he received from a wheelchair bound man who's now motivated by that same young man.
Kyle Dealing spent a month last summer at the ICU at University Medical Center Brackenridge. A freak diving accident in the San Marcos River fractured a vertebrate in his neck and left him with a tracheotomy, no ability to talk and minimal movement in his body. He became a quadriplegic.
A year later, Dealing is walking and talking again.
"Every day I can do something I couldn't do yesterday," said Dealing. "It's definitely positive."
Also present a year ago – Daniel Curtis – himself paralyzed due to a diving accident. Curtis makes it part of his recovery mission to encourage new spinal cord injury patients like Dealing.
"When I saw him, I saw the same type of road that I went down," said Curtis.
"It touched me because he knew where I was coming from," said Dealing. "He put a hand out there before I could even receive anything. I couldn't move my arms at all. I couldn't shake his hand. I couldn't even breathe on my own, and I couldn't talk to him."
Slowly that began to change. Doctors removed the tracheotomy after three months. Dealing and Curtis could now talk to and motivate each other during grueling rehab.
"He pushed me to do things that I couldn't do," said Dealing.
"It's incredible how you can go from utterly helpless to up and walking around within a year," said Curtis.
"Now that I'm up and walking, it's obviously pushing him to try harder," said Dealing.
Mike Haynes, the manager of the Seton Brain and Spine Recovery Center, says Dealing's quick and nearly complete recovery is something he's only seen about 10 times in 30 years.
"Kyle's recovery is nothing short of miraculous," said Haynes.
And Dealing agrees.
"The Good Lord was looking out for me," he said.
Click here for more information about the Seton Brain and Spine Recovery Center.