Myron Wright is determined to walk again (cont.)
Wright was taken to Thibodaux Regional Medical Center, where he underwent surgery to replace fractured vertebrae. He was transferred to Touro Infirmary in New Orleans and underwent three months of intensive rehabilitation. He eventually regained movement in his shoulders, but his arms and legs remained immobile. Through it all he maintained full sensation, something that doctors consider a medical anomaly. "It's a strange feeling, being able to feel your arms and legs but not being able to move them," he says.
Wright returned home in a wheelchair operated and steered by a leather headrest. He went back to high school and embarked on a new life beset with challenges and hardships. Football had been Wright's salvation, a potential ticket to college and an affordable education. He hoped it might one day lead him to the NFL. Now Wright was forced to focus solely on school and the prospect of spending the rest of his life with limited movement.
He was besieged with questions from his classmates. They wanted to know when he was going to stand up again, but Wright didn't know how to respond. "A lot of us thought he would be okay when it first happened," says 25-year-old Traig Wagner, a close friend and ex-teammate of Wright. "We cried thinking about what took place that night."
It wasn't long before Wright began to experience reoccurring dreams about walking. In each one, he visualizes moving around without the aid of a nurse or a wheelchair. He awakens and tries to get out of bed.
Then reality sets in.
"The dreams actually make me feel good sometimes," Wright says. "They make me feel like I'm capable of actually doing it one day."
Wright recalibrated. He enrolled at Nicholls State University in 2005 and reset his goals. Now he wanted to graduate from college and walk away with a business management degree. The attitude was there, but he needed an extra boost. Life in a wheelchair had taken its toll.
"Nobody was telling me anything and the doctors didn't really know about my chances of walking again, so I started looking on the Internet for an answer," he says.
Wright found it at the Web site for Project Walk.
"A lot of therapists want paralyzed people to accept their condition," Wright says. "They're trying to accomplish the goal of getting you to adapt to your condition, but a person like me is trying to accomplish the goal of walking. Being a hard-working kind of person who believes that anything is possible, I knew it's better to work with someone that is trying to accomplish the same goal as you are, and that's the way it is at Project Walk. I read testimonials from clients, and every one of them said it was the place to be."
Wright contacted his cousin, Glenda Johnson, a production clerk at the Thibodaux Daily Comet, to see if she could help him publicize his plan to attend the clinic (which costs $1,800 per week). She immediately passed the idea to a staff reporter. "Myron has always been striving to walk again since his accident and never let it get him down," Johnson says. "By working at the newspaper, I thought I could help him get his story out."
The article ran on a Friday. Less than 24 hours later, Brian Williams, a local bar owner, called Wright and set up a charity dinner-dance to help him raise funds. The dinner netted $2,600. In an effort to raise more awareness, Wright teamed up with his friend Wagner to create a short documentary chronicling his life in a wheelchair and plans to one day walk again. The DVDs were sent to local businesses to raise more money.
When word spread about Wright's fight, he became the beneficiary of 10 charity fundraisers over the next eight months. They included a Halloween party and walk-a-thon, banquets and a 3-on-3 basketball tournament hosted by the Kappa Sigma fraternity at Nicholls State. His parents, Deon and Beverly, created The Myron Wright Foundation. By April 2008 Wright had amassed $56,000, a sum good enough to cover half a year at Project Walk.