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Texas Longhorn Legend Helps Paralyzed Teenager

Updated: Saturday, August 3 2013, 10:47 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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Scores & Schedules

March 01, 2015 08:07 GMT

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NBA

Saturday's Game

Washington 99, Detroit 95

Atlanta 93, Miami 91

New York 103, Toronto 98

Memphis 101, Minnesota 97

Brooklyn 104, Dallas 94

San Antonio 101, Phoenix 74

Utah 82, Milwaukee 75

Sunday's Games

L.A. Clippers at Chicago, 1 p.m.

Cleveland at Houston, 3:30 p.m.

Charlotte at Orlando, 6 p.m.

Golden State at Boston, 6 p.m.

Philadelphia at Indiana, 6 p.m.

Portland at Sacramento, 6 p.m.

Oklahoma City at L.A. Lakers, 6:30 p.m.

New Orleans at Denver, 8 p.m.

NHL

Saturday's Games

Florida 5, Buffalo 3

Detroit 4, Nashville 3

Carolina 5, N.Y. Islanders 3

New Jersey 2, Columbus 0

Boston 4, Arizona 1

Montreal 4, Toronto 0

Philadelphia 4, N.Y. Rangers 2

Minnesota 3, Colorado 1

St. Louis 2, Edmonton 1

Ottawa 4, San Jose 2

Sunday's Games

Los Angeles at Winnipeg, 4 p.m.

Tampa Bay at Florida, 5 p.m.

Columbus at Pittsburgh, 5 p.m.

Toronto at Washington, 7 p.m.

Anaheim at Dallas, 8 p.m.

St. Louis at Vancouver, 10 p.m.

TOP-25 MEN'S BASKETBALL

Saturday's Games

( 1) Kentucky 84, (18) Arkansas 67

( 2) Virginia 69, Virginia Tech 57

BYU 73 ( 3) Gonzaga 70

( 4) Duke 73, Syracuse 54

( 6) Villanova 78m Xavier 66

( 7) Arizona 63, (13) Utah 57

( 8) Kansas 69, Texas 64

(11) Wichita State 74, (10) Northern Iowa 60

Kansas State 70, (12) Iowa State 69

(14) Maryland 66, Michigan 56

(15) North Carolina 73, Miami 64

(16) Oklahoma 67, TCU 60

(17) Louisville 81, Florida State 59

(19) Baylor 78, (20) West Virginia 66

Dayton 59, (22) VCU 55

(23) Butler 67, DePaul 53

Boise State 56, (24) San Diego State 46

Sunday's Games

( 5) Wisconsin vs. Michigan State, 4 p.m.

(21) SMU at UConn, 2 p.m.

(25) Providence vs. Marquette, 3:30 p.m.

TOP-25 WOMEN'S BASKETBALL

Saturday's Games

( 1) UConn 87, Memphis 24

Iowa State 76, ( 3) Baylor 71

( 7) Oregon State 73, California 55

(14) Princeton 79, Brown 67

(18) Chattanooga 64, ETSU 42

(21) Florida Gulf Coast 78 Jacksonville 47

Sunday's Games

( 2) South Carolina at (13) Kentucky, 5 p.m.

( 4) Notre Dame at N.C. State, 2 p.m.

( 5) Maryland at (25) Northwestern, 1 p.m.

( 6) Tennessee vs. Vanderbilt, 5 p.m.

( 8) Louisville at Virginia, 1 p.m.

( 9) Florida State at Miami, 3 p.m.

(10) Arizona State vs. Colorado, 4 p.m.

(11) Mississippi State vs. Mississippi, 2 p.m.

(12) Texas A&M at LSU, 2 p.m.

(15) North Carolina at (16) Duke, 3 p.m.

(17) Iowa vs. Minnesota, 3 p.m.

(19) Stanford at Oregon, 4 p.m.

(20) Rutgers vs. Indiana, Noon

(22) George Washington vs. George Mason, 2 p.m.

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KEYE-TV Sports Team


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