Spinal cord injuries often present a bleak outcome for patients that have become paralyzed for life in a matter of seconds. But not everyone chooses to accept their prognosis. Physical therapist and personal trainer, Katie Breland Hughes recently decided to make her own future, rather than allowing her paralysis to dictate what she could and could not do.
Hughes initially lost the the use of her legs after a car accident in October 2011. After running a stop sign, she was hit by a truck and ended up pinned beneath her car. Trapped for over a half an hour, she was burned by the running engine over 75 percent of her back, her left shoulder, arm, through skin and muscle. After the accident, Hughes woke up to a grim prognosis, her spinal cord was severed and she would never walk again.
Later it was determined that her spine had not been severed as doctors initially thought, and there was still a glimmer of hope. Even then, Hughes refused to allow her paralysis to limit her, even when she got engaged and decided that she would not get married until she could walk down the aisle.
To prepare herself, Katie contacted Mike Barwis, a well-known sports trainer famous for the Discovery Channel TV show “American Muscle.” After a significant amount of hard work and motivation, Barwis got Hughes to move her legs for the first time since the accident.
But walking in a wedding dress was not quite as easy as she had anticipated and turned out to be much harder than walking in athletic shorts. Hughes’ vertebrae were held in place by two rods on each side of her spine. And despite excruciating pain, Katie refused to give up during months of training at Barwis’ Michigan facility.
Hughes started with a walker, braces and typical athletic gear, before progressing to wearing the dress with her walker. After a while, she was able to walk in her dress with a cane, and then with two people walking beside her. Finally, on her wedding day, Katie made it to the end of the aisle with many teary eyes watching.
Today, Katie tries to motivate people who deal with challenges in their lives. She offers workout classes twice a week and now accepts invitations for motivational speaking. Additionally, Hughes started a charity called “Katie’s Cause.”
All the money that Hughes makes goes to her beloved charity. Her goal is to create an all-accessible playground for children, that allows parents in wheelchairs to take their kids to play and lets then more easily play with them on the playground. Hughes’ first gift from Katie’s Cause is a wheelchair swing that will be installed next month. She hopes her story and achievements will inspire others with spinal cord injuries and others who may have lost hope.
Spinal cord injuries can happen from a variety of causes, many of which are accidents involving driver negligence. If you have suffered a spinal cord injury, knowing how to navigate the legal system is a critical piece of a successful legal strategy. As such, it is important to have an attorney on your side that can aggressively and strategically fight for your case. Don’t settle for a discount law firm that may not understand Louisiana State law. J. Price McNamara, has represented Baton Rouge and Metairie, LA personal injury clients for many years and has been rated “AV” by his peers for his legal service to the community. If you would like to know more about how to initiate your lawsuit, contact us for a consultation. We want to help get you started with your case. Call us today at (225)201-8311.
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