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Texas Longhorn Legend Helps Paralyzed Teenager

Updated: Saturday, August 3 2013, 09:47 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 29, 2015 07:10 GMT

Latest scores; Upcoming games

NCAA MEN'S BASKETBALL TOURNAMENT

Saturday's Games

WEST REGION FINAL: Wisconsin 85, Arizona 78

MIDWEST REGION FINAL: Kentucky 68, Notre Dame 66

Sunday's Games

EAST REGION FINAL: Louisville vs. Michigan St. at Syracuse, 2:20 p.m.

SOUTH REGION FINAL: Duke vs. Gonzaga at Houston, 5:05 p.m.

NBA

Saturday's Games

Charlotte 115, Atlanta 100

Chicago 111, New York 80

Golden State 108, Milwaukee 95

Utah 94, Oklahoma City 89

Portland 120, Denver 114

Sunday's Games

Houston at Washington, 12:30 p.m.

L.A. Lakers at Brooklyn, 3:30 p.m.

Minnesota at New Orleans, 4 p.m.

Philadelphia at Cleveland, 4:30 p.m.

Detroit at Miami, 6 p.m.

L.A. Clippers at Boston, 6 p.m.

Memphis at San Antonio, 7 p.m.

Dallas at Indiana, 7 p.m.

Oklahoma City at Phoenix, 9 p.m.

NHL

Saturday's Games

San Jose 3, Philadelphia 2, SO

Nashville 4, Washington 3

Boston 4, N.Y. Rangers 2

Anaheim 3, N.Y. Islanders 2

Pittsburgh 3, Arizona 2

Detroit 4, Tampa Bay 0

Toronto 4, Ottawa 3, OT

Montreal 3, Florida 2, OT

Carolina 3, New Jersey 1

Columbus 4, St. Louis 2

Minnesota 4, Los Angeles 1

Colorado 5, Buffalo 3

Dallas 4, Vancouver 3

Sunday's Games

Washington at N.Y. Rangers, 3 p.m.

Florida at Ottawa, 5 p.m.

Detroit at N.Y. Islanders, 5 p.m.

Boston at Carolina, 5 p.m.

Calgary at Nashville, 5 p.m.

Anaheim at New Jersey, 7 p.m.

San Jose at Pittsburgh, 7:30 p.m.

Chicago at Winnipeg, 7:30 p.m.

NCAA WOMEN'S BASKETBALL TOURNAMENT

Saturday's Games

ALBANY REGION: UConn 105, Texas 54

ALBANY REGION: Dayton 82, Louisville 66

SPOKANE REGION: Maryland 65, Duke 55

SPOKANE REGION: Tennessee 73, Gonzaga 69, OT

Sunday's Games

GREENSBORO REGION FINAL: South Carolina (33-2) vs. Florida State (32-4), noon

OKLAHOMA CITY REGION FINAL: Baylor (33-3) vs. Notre Dame (34-2), 8:30 p.m.

MLS

Saturday's Games

New England 2, San Jose 1

Montreal 2, Orlando City 2, tie

D.C. United 1, Los Angeles 0

Sporting Kansas City 1, New York City FC 0

New York 2, Columbus 1

Vancouver 2, Portland 1

FC Dallas 0, Seattle 0, tie

Houston 0, Colorado 0, tie

Sunday's Games

Philadelphia at Chicago, 5 p.m.

Toronto FC at Real Salt Lake, 7 p.m.

MLB PRESEASON

Saturday's Games

Miami 1, Houston 1, tie

Minnesota 7, Philadelphia 1

Baltimore 10, N.Y. Yankees 2

Detroit 4, St. Louis 3

Pittsburgh 8, Toronto (ss) 3

Boston 9, Tampa Bay 6

Atlanta 5, Toronto (ss) 3

N.Y. Mets 10, Washington 2

San Francisco 9, Seattle 8

Oakland 10, Chicago White Sox 4

Cleveland 3, Milwaukee 2

Cincinnati 9, Chicago Cubs (ss) 5

San Diego 3, Texas 2

Chicago Cubs (ss) 18, Colorado 4

L.A. Dodgers 5, L.A. Angels 4

Kansas City 10, Arizona 5

Sunday's Games

N.Y. Mets vs. St. Louis at Jupiter, Fla., 1:05 p.m.

Minnesota vs. Baltimore (ss) at Sarasota, Fla., 1:05 p.m.

Miami vs. Washington at Viera, Fla., 1:05 p.m.

Pittsburgh vs. Atlanta at Kissimmee, Fla., 1:05 p.m.

Detroit vs. Philadelphia at Clearwater, Fla., 1:05 p.m.

Tampa Bay vs. Boston at Fort Myers, Fla., 1:05 p.m.

N.Y. Yankees vs. Houston at Kissimmee, Fla., 1:05 p.m.

Baltimore (ss) vs. Toronto at Dunedin, Fla., 1:07 p.m.

Cincinnati vs. L.A. Angels at Tempe, Ariz., 3:10 p.m.

Seattle vs. San Diego at Peoria, Ariz., 4:05 p.m.

Milwaukee vs. Oakland at Mesa, Ariz., 4:05 p.m.

Texas vs. L.A. Dodgers (ss) at Glendale, Ariz., 4:05 p.m.

Chicago Cubs vs. Kansas City at Surprise, Ariz., 4:05 p.m.

L.A. Dodgers (ss) vs. San Francisco at Scottsdale, Ariz., 4:05 p.m.

Chicago White Sox vs. Cleveland at Goodyear, Ariz., 4:05 p.m.

Colorado vs. Arizona at Hermosillo, 4:10 p.m.

Arizona vs. Colorado at Scottsdale, Ariz., 4:10 p.m.

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KEYE-TV Sports Team


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