Sammy Sanchez: Taking Injury in Stride

- AMARILLO --      Playing sports accounts for more than 12% of all spinal cord injuries, and according to the Youth Sports Safety Alliance, football has the highest rate of spinal cord injury, of any sport for kids.
    A local Highland Park Hornet, Sammy Sanchez, became a part of that statistic, last year.

Krystine, Sammy's mom, "I picked him up from the school and he says my back really really hurts. And you know, your back hurts when you get knocked around on the football field."

But Sammy, 17, a Junior football player and power lifter at Highland Park High School, felt like this injury was different than others.
"A week later," Sammy said, "I hadn't played to kind of let the back get back to normal and I fell asleep in class, and when I woke up I couldn't stand, I couldn't, walk my legs were just not working."

The first stop was the pediatrician's office, then x-rays and other scans, and finally, a diagnosis.

"A stroke of the spinal cord, and then a herniated spinal cord, and bulging discs in the lower lumbar spine," Krystine explains.

"It felt unreal," Sammy said, "It's strange you go through your entire life and your legs, you just walk, you don't even have to think about it."

The Sanchez family reached out to the Children's Miracle Network for help with medical bills, prescription costs and making their home wheelchair accessible.

"They helped with everything I knew whatever we needed, whatever the doctors said was best, I just reached out to Jodi and she took care of it. She's wonderful."

It's a life that the entire family including Sammy's little brother have had to get used to.

Krystine told us, "The new normal is it takes a lot of time to get him going. He'll have a brace that he wears he's going to have an implant that will be placed. That will give him some restrictions. But we're just adjusting to the new normal. We're taking it one day at a time."

Sammy says he doesn't take anything for granted.
He's grateful for what he calls a second chance...because after just six months, Sammy is walking again.

"Most people with spinal cord injuries don't get to walk again. They're in wheelchairs...But I'm up and walking again," he says, "So it's definitely a second chance."

A second chance, that Sammy is taking in stride.

More information on brain and spinal cord injuries from the Centers for Disease Control: Http://www.Cdc.Gov/traumaticbraininjury/scifacts.Html

More Stories

Latest News