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Fighting a spinal cord injury one inch at a time

Dreams can be shattered in an instant by a life-changing spinal cord injury sustained in a workplace accident, slip or fall, car accident or other mishap.

One man who had his dreams shattered when he injured his spinal cord and was paralyzed from the neck down is fighting back against his injury and inspiring others to do the same.

Ten years ago, he was 24 years old and had already landed the job of his dreams at a magazine. He was taking a bit of time off at a New York summer house when he saw the dim lights of a swimming pool. The warm evening seemed just right for a quick dip.

Unfortunately, he dove into the shallow end of the pool and felt his chin hit the bottom of the pool hard.

A decade later, he can no longer run and dive, but he has regained the ability to feel sensations in his legs and to stand for 90 minutes a day.

Perhaps those achievements sound minor, but to someone who was told he would never get out of bed again and never breathe without being on a ventilator, the progress he's made is truly astounding.

According to the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation, about 1.3 million Americans live with a spinal cord injury.

The man profiled by CNN has fought his way back with a combination of intense physical therapy, stem cell therapy, electrical stimulation of his hands, legs and torso, and most of all, a supportive family and his own indomitable spirit.

He now serves an ambassador for the Reeve Foundation, spreading the story of his comeback and the steps he intends to take in the near future.

For those who have sustained spinal cord injuries due to someone else's negligence, it's imperative that they get the medical care they need for as long as they need it. Because of the enormous costs associated with therapy, it's often of paramount importance to discuss with an experienced personal injury attorney legal options available to recover damages.

Source: CNN, "Fighting paralysis, one milestone at a time," Nov. 12, 2012

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