HOLLYWOOD, FLA. (WSVN) - Family, friends, doctors and physical therapists all gathered to witness Chase Lalonde walk weeks after he was paralyzed from the chest down.
The 16-year-old took the highly-anticipated steps out of his wheelchair in front of a crowd at Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital on Thursday.
“There are very few phone calls that we get in the trauma world that make us more concerned than something about a brain injury or a spinal cord injury,” said Dr. Andrew Rosenthal from Memorial Regional Hospital.
The captain of the lacrosse team at Westminster Academy in Fort Lauderdale, Lalonde suffered a blunt blow to the back of his spine on March 2 and was immediately paralyzed from the chest down.
Team members didn’t realize the severity of the injury their captain suffered until later.
“At first, the team thought nothing of it, and once we heard he was going into surgery it was really scary for everyone,” said teammate P.J. Onstad.
Rescue crews flew Lalonde to Memorial Regional Hospital to withstand hours of trauma surgery.
Many doubted he would have a chance to walk on his own again, but after weeks of intense physical therapy, Lalonde was able to walk out of the hospital on his own.
“When I took those steps, my legs were like aching, and I just remember thinking like, ‘I’m doing it, the pain will go away. I’m walking at least,'” said Lalonde.
His mother addressed all those who supported her son and said it was his inspiration.
“Your support pushed him every day. I think it was to prove to you to have something to say the next day, and you guys were the biggest part of his recovery,” Amy Lalonde said.
Chase said he was determined to regain what was lost.
“I did doubt that I would walk, but I didn’t doubt that I could push myself to be able to make progress,” said Lalonde.
The battle to recovery didn’t stop when he walked out of the hospital on Thursday morning, as Lalonde said, he hopes to continue his progress in weeks and months to come.
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