A Florida teen has accomplished a medical miracle by walking out of a hospital under his own power just weeks after he suffered a severe spinal injury in a game that could have cost him his mobility long term.
As reported by the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, 16-year-old Chase Lalonde, a captain for the Westminster Academy (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) lacrosse team, was airlifted to Memorial Regional Hospital on March 3 after he suffered a frightening spinal injury during his team’s season-opener at Immokalee (Fla.) High School. Following emergency surgery, he was transferred to Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital, where he spent three weeks in intensive rehab, trying to re-establish his motor skills.
And then he walked out of the hospital under his own power.
An injury that seemed as if it may keep Lalonde from walking ever again was overcome in just three weeks? Incredibly, that seems to be the case thanks to a couple lucky breaks: Lalonde suffered incomplete quadriplegia, rather than complete, and the doctors made a conscious decision not to tell he or his parents that they thought he could be quadriplegic even after therapy.
“I’m crying because this is the first time that I heard that they thought he would be quadriplegic, and I’m grateful that none of you told us that,” Lalonde’s mother, Amy Lalonde, told the Sun Sentinel. “I think it might have made a difference in how we moved forward. We never thought for a minute — they just told us that he’s a 16-year-old boy and they had every reason to believe that if he put his mind to it, he could recover, so that’s what we believed.”
That’s precisely what happened, leaving Lalonde with more recovery in his junior season and then, possibly, a chance to return and play lacrosse again in his final high school year.
“I’m going to try to work my body a little bit until I can play next year because I really do want to play again,” Lalonde told the Sun Sentinel. “It’s a really fun sport and I’m just going to work hard so I can get into the college I want to get into. Until then, I’m just going to relax with my friends and hang out.”