Former Longhorn helps teen recover - MyFoxAustin.com | KTBC Fox 7 | News, Weather, Sports

Former Longhorn helps teen recover

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Former Longhorn Doug English is a college football hall of famer and 4-time NFL Pro-Bowler but he's actually accomplished more off the field with his Lone Star Paralysis Foundation.

Ben Waker can now lift weights and a lot more. But things weren't good for the 16-year-old back on July 4, of 2012, when things went horribly wrong.

"I was surfing down in Daytona Beach with my friends and when I got up on the surfboard I stood up. Then the surfboard rolled over and I fell off diving and landed on my head," Ben said.

"That evening of July 4th my husband and I got a call. They informed us that been had been in an accident. The next call was from the emergency room doctors saying Ben had broken his neck. He had no feeling and no movement below the neck. He was paralyzed," said Patty Waker, Ben's mother.

"It's been hard. Me and my mom had to move down here. My dad and sister are still up in Ohio. It's hard. But I know being down here is the best place for me and this is the best place I'm gonna have to recover," Ben said.

Ben and his mom have been in Austin the past 14 months. Spending a lot of time here at the Seton Brain and Spine Recovery Center. A place they learned about from former Longhorn Doug English, the founder of the Lone Star Paralysis Foundation.

"I was in Dayton on a little piece of business and found out Ben had been hurt. I said there's a place in Austin, Texas where we're getting people feeling, movement and in some cases the ability to walk again. And I really want you to come down and see it," English said.

"I'm completely grateful. There's nothing more than I can do than thank Doug. I would not be anywhere near where I am today without him," Ben said.

"Every time I see Ben I just walk a little lighter for the rest of the day. He and his mom are just so inspiring," English. "These are really good signs."

"It's been a slow process. It took three months to get a lot of my upper body strength back. Even now I'm still regaining so much a year and a half later. Just regaining so much more function. My ultimate goal is to be walking around again. I know that's gonna happen," Ben said.

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