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'Ben' There, Doing That

Updated: Friday, May 23 2014, 10:24 AM CDT

While most teenagers dream of a new ride when they turn 16, Ben Waker was getting adjusted to these wheels. Because 15 months before his 16th birthday, Ben's life was re-routed down a much different road.
 
"I was face down in the water," Ben recalled. "I was trying to paddle to get up and breathe but I couldn't."
 
A surfing accident broke Ben's sixth and seventh vertebrae. He had no feeling and no movement. He was 14 years old and paralyzed.
 
"He knew we were there," said Ben's mother Patty. "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.
 
"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."

Turns out, that was just the first chapter of Waker's success story. Immediately following his accident, Ben's strength was non-existent.

"Basically his body was taken back to infant state," Patty explained.

But less than two years later, after therapy at the Seton Brain and Spine Recovery Center - often more than 5 hours a day, 5 days a week - week after week - Ben is anything but weak.

"I feel like I've made 100 percent progress since last year," Ben said. "I've doubled my strength. I've been able to do so much more."

He can petal - he can stand - and yes, he can even drive a car. His car. An adapted Dodge Avenger. But any good ride is built with quality parts.

"Mom's been everything to this," Ben added. "She's the reason I am where I am today."

Patty refused to take all the credit. "My husband is at home, working hard to keep this all going," she said. "And I have a daughter who's there and she's been wonderful as well. So it's a whole recipe."

Before arriving in Austin last January, Ben could not hold his hand above his head. He's now lifting a whole lot more than just his arm.

"To face your rehabilitation and recovery with such determination and with a smile on your face is just inspiring," English noted.

by Adam Winkler
'Ben' There, Doing That


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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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