DEERFIELD BEACH, FLA. (WSVN) - A former high school athlete left paralyzed from an injury sustained during a game now has to make big life adjustments.

Doctors at Broward Health North in Deerfield Beach operated on Blanche Ely High School junior Wilben Morrisaint for four hours and now they’re getting him the help he needs.

Morrisaint said he’s been able to breathe on his own with no problems for two days.

He sustained the bad injury during the season opener on Aug. 24.

“It was kick-off and in a blink of an eye, he got hit and that’s when the accident did happen,” said witness Jasmine Brutus.

He was hospitalized at Broward Health North after breaking his neck. He was paralyzed instantly.

“He was trying to wave at the crowd because he wanted them to know that he was OK, he was awake,” said Neurosurgeon at Broward Health North Dr. Richard Foltz, “but he couldn’t.”

Morrisaint’s C3, 4 and 5 in the neck are severely injured.

Foltz immediately took the player into the emergency room. “We give him less than a 50 percent chance to be able to get up and walk again,” Foltz said, “but I’m not gonna tell him he can’t. I don’t know. I told him if God touched him, he would walk in a minute, but medically speaking, he’s going to require weeks and months of very difficult rehabilitation.”

Foltz has been working with Morrisaint to also preserve his will.

When Foltz asked the teen what their three secret words are, Morrisaint said, “Survive. Adapt. Overcome.”

He’s lifted Morrisaint’s spirits by caring for him. “Thank you. It’s a bigger thank you, a gigantic. Well, you know I can’t really do much right now,” Morrisaint said to Foltz.

They’ve already conquered their first goal of getting Morrisaint into the best hospital in Atlanta, Georgia for paralysis.

Morrisaint said he wants to start rehab right away because he has big plans.

“He’s a great kid, so we’re all pitching in to help him overcome what must be tragic emotional turmoil that he’s dealing with,” Foltz said.

Morrisaint’s spot at the rehab facility in Georgia will be ready as quickly as Friday. However, his family is asking for the public’s help to get there and for the several years of rehab and equipment he’ll need.

If you’d like to donate, click here.

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