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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

October 30, 2014 07:08 GMT

WORLD SERIES=

(Best-of-7) San Francisco 4, Kansas City 3

Tuesday, Oct. 21: San Francisco 7, Kansas City 1

Wednesday, Oct. 22: Kansas City 7, San Francisco 2

Friday, Oct. 24: Kansas City 3, San Francisco 2

Saturday, Oct. 25: San Francisco 11, Kansas City 4

Sunday, Oct. 26: San Francisco 5, Kansas City 0

Tuesday, Oct. 28: Kansas City 10, San Francisco 0

Wednesday, Oct. 29: San Francisco 3, Kansas City 2

NBA

Wednesday's Games

Indiana 103, Philadelphia 91

Charlotte 108, Milwaukee 106, OT

Miami 107, Washington 95

Toronto 109, Atlanta 102

Boston 121, Brooklyn 105

Memphis 105, Minnesota 101

Chicago 104, New York 80

Denver 89, Detroit 79

Houston 104, Utah 93

Phoenix 119, L.A. Lakers 99

Golden State 95, Sacramento 77

Portland 106, Oklahoma City 89

Thursday's Games

Washington at Orlando, 7 p.m.

Detroit at Minnesota, 8 p.m.

New York at Cleveland, 8 p.m.

Utah at Dallas, 8:30 p.m.

Oklahoma City at L.A. Clippers, 10:30 p.m.

NFL

Thursday, Oct. 30

New Orleans at Carolina, 8:25 p.m.

Sunday, Nov. 2

Arizona at Dallas, 1 p.m.

Philadelphia at Houston, 1 p.m.

N.Y. Jets at Kansas City, 1 p.m.

Washington at Minnesota, 1 p.m.

Tampa Bay at Cleveland, 1 p.m.

Jacksonville at Cincinnati, 1 p.m.

San Diego at Miami, 1 p.m.

St. Louis at San Francisco, 4:05 p.m.

Oakland at Seattle, 4:25 p.m.

Denver at New England, 4:25 p.m.

Baltimore at Pittsburgh, 8:30 p.m.

Open: Atlanta, Buffalo, Chicago, Detroit, Green Bay, Tennessee

Monday, Nov. 3

Indianapolis at N.Y. Giants, 8:30 p.m.

NHL

Wednesday's Games

Detroit 4, Washington 2

Nashville 4, Edmonton 1

Thursday's Games

Boston at Buffalo, 7 p.m.

Winnipeg at New Jersey, 7 p.m.

Los Angeles at Pittsburgh, 7 p.m.

Chicago at Ottawa, 7:30 p.m.

Philadelphia at Tampa Bay, 7:30 p.m.

Arizona at Florida, 7:30 p.m.

Anaheim at St. Louis, 8 p.m.

San Jose at Minnesota, 8 p.m.

N.Y. Islanders at Colorado, 9 p.m.

Montreal at Vancouver, 10 p.m.

MLS PLAYOFFS

KNOCKOUT ROUND Times EDT Eastern Conference

Thursday, Oct. 30: Sporting Kansas City at New York, 8 p.m.

Western Conference

Wednesday, Oct 29: FC Dallas 2, Vancouver 1.

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KEYE-TV Sports Team


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