By John Miksa and Scott Leary, MD
“NO! STOP! NO!” These are the last words John shouted before being struck violently by a car turning into his bike lane. The impact ripped John’s bike away and sent him bouncing and careening off the top of the car. Everything went into slow motion as he seemingly drifted to the ground while looking skyward. Then he slammed onto the street, landing hard on his back, neck, and right arm and shoulder. The pain arrived instantly, searing through his neck and arm. Lying on his back and writhing in agony, he looked to his right, certain that he would see his right hand in flames.
While citizen responders called 911 and offered John comfort, within minutes it happened. His legs slowly dropped to the ground. Like a tarp being removed from his body and taking with it all of John’s ability to feel and move, he knew something terrible had just happened. He stared into the eyes of a young woman supporting his head and said, “I can’t feel or move anything. My God, I’m paralyzed!” At that moment, John did not know if he would die or be paralyzed from the neck down for the rest of his life.
Whisked away from the accident scene by ambulance to a nearby life-flight helicopter, John was flown thirty miles to a trauma center. Diagnosed as quadriplegic and in spinal shock, John was told by the neurosurgeon that his chance for even the slightest recovery was less than 1%. He was destined for a lifetime in a wheelchair.
What happened next was nothing short of a miracle.