Wyatt Tidwell, 19, from Gilbert in Arizona, USA, suffered a broken back, punctured lungs, a broken femur, collarbone, shoulder and more from the accident when his motorcycle failed to decelerate
A lucky to be alive teen left paralyzed from an 84mph motorcycle accident has defied the odds to walk and now plans other more daring feats.
Wyatt Tidwell, 19, from Gilbert in Arizona, USA, suffered a broken back, punctured lungs, a broken femur, collarbone, shoulder and more from the accident when his motorcycle failed to decelerate.
Doctors doubted whether he would survive the accident that saw him ejected into the air at 84mph before his body smashed against two guard rails last October.
After operations to secure his pelvis back in place, he was told he was paralyzed from the waist down and would never walk again.
But Wyatt was determined to beat their prognosis and after spending to two hours a day physical and pool therapy, he was finally able to stand up – a mere six months after his accident.
With the assistance of mobility aids he’s since been able to walk and plans to take on challenges ranging from surfing to wakeboarding, skydiving and more.
Wyatt, a student, said: ‘I remember trying to turn down the throttle but the motorcycle wouldn’t slow down and instead it sped up.
Doctors doubted whether he would survive the accident where he was ejected at 84mph before his body smashed against two guard rails last October
‘I vividly remember being ejected, when I looked down and saw the speedometer it had hit 84mph as the bike passed between my legs.
‘It launched me quite a distance, I was flying through the air like Superman until I hit the guard rails.
‘During the accident, I snapped my femur in half, my foot was up by my head, I broke a few ribs, my and nose, punctured my lungs and damaged my spinal cord.
‘I was a very high-risk patient, because my lungs were so badly damaged doctors didn’t think I was going to make it, it was a miracle I survived.
‘While recovering in hospital, when I was told I would never walk again, I became determined to beat everyone’s predictions.
‘I spent hours and hours, in a rehab facility and therapy learning how to get around without using my legs, using a power wheelchair because my left arm was so badly injured.
‘When I was first able to stand it was a proud moment, because I don’t have any motor function from the bellybutton down it was like walking on stilts.
Spending to two hours a day physical and pool therapy, he was finally able to stand up – a mere six months after his accident. Now he hopes to do even more like riding a bike again
‘But when I saw the look on people’s face, all six-foot-three of me was proud, I was able to do it because of my stubbornness and determination to walk as much as I can.
‘I won’t let what happened stop me, now I can transfer myself in and out of bed, I’ve started driving lessons, go on a boat, wakeboard, surf and plan to skydive.’
After being rushed to hospital, Wyatt was put into a medically induced coma to help his body heal from the trauma and shock suffered from the accident.
But remarkably, against all the odds he woke up several days earlier than he was supposed – setting an early precedent for his recovery to come.
Wyatt said: ‘Doctors were trying to keep my body under sedation due to the shock it went through, the spinal cord damage and all the difficulties my body suffered.
‘When I woke up, I was very calm but knew something was wrong because my whole family were surrounding me, all I knew was that I was very thankful to be alive.
‘When I heard I would never walk again, I know the ‘Wyatt before the accident’ would have been upset and blaming somebody else but I caused the damage to myself.
‘I was the one who put myself on the motorcycle, got into the accident and put myself in that situation, I’ll be in a wheelchair for the rest of my life but it won’t stop me.’
Wyatt underwent stem cell treatment to help his arm regain movement, which had been severely damaged from the accident.
He then progressed to strength training, electrical stimulation and physical therapy, all of which would become pivotal during his mission to walk again.
Wyatt said: ‘The first surgery opened my bicep to make sure the nerve was intact and to fix it, then they made stem cell injections.
‘It was like training a toddler from ground zero, to strengthen my left hand I had to do everything I could with it from brushing my teeth to grabbing things.
‘I still go to rehab now, spending hours and hours relearning everything from squeezing a ball to bicep and hand weights, then more pool therapy too.’
Wyatt was able to stand for the first time in April and since then has used that to achievement motivate him to challenge himself even more.
Wyatt’s family are fundraising on GoFundMe to help pay his medical bills, and so far have raised $10,795 of their $50k goal
He said: ‘I’d been working up to have the strong enough to walk at that point for many months, I had a lot of help doing it but I knew that if I could stand then I could do anything.
‘Up until then I didn’t have full range in my arm but now I can move it and while it’s not fully there, it functions at around 70%.’
Wyatt says his determination to defy the odds stem from the encouragement of his loving family and the inspiration from friend McKindree Patton who is battling sickness.
Now he’s focusing on trying to participate in sports and activities such as skydiving to further challenge himself.
Wyatt said: ‘My family have been one of my biggest motivations, they were there for me and have 100% supported me, I wouldn’t be here without them.
‘Another person is one of my best friends McKrindee Patton who is battling sickness, I look up to her as an inspiration, she kicks butt and has a smile on her face.
‘I use both of these sources of inspiration as fuel to keep me going, even though my legs don’t work I will do as much as I can.
‘I don’t think there’s anything I can’t do, as well as all the sporting activities I have planned, I’m working on driving again, I’ll get a job, get married and have kids someday too.’
Wyatt’s family are fundraising on GoFundMe to help pay his medical bills, and so far have raised $10,795 of their $50k goal.