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Best friend broken c5 and c6 vertebra

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  • Best friend broken c5 and c6 vertebra

    I just found out yesterday that my bestfriend had a skiing accident. The day was December 12,2011. We are both from Chicago but go to school in Colorado. I unfortunately went home before he went skiing. I received a phone call on the 12th from friends saying that my friend went off a jump and landed on his neck. He was airlifted from the mountains down to Denver. He was diagnosed with a broken c5 and c6 vertebra. He has no feeling below his chest. He has control of his biceps and his neck. He went to surgery that same night of the 12th. His surgery lasted 5hours. They removed fragments of the c5 and put a titanium cage around the spinal cord to try and prevent further Damage. The doctor said that there was no damage done to the spinal cord itself. It is still intact, but it is bruised. I flew out to Denver the next morning. When I arrived he could barely talk and could not move. He is going into surgery again on the 14th to fix the c6. I am writing about this hoping that someone has some stories of people coming back and regaining feeling in the legs and chest. I am hoping that this is just spinal shock. I am very scared that my friend will never be able to walk again and I am just searching for some guidance and hope to hold on too. My best friend is 20 years old and he and I could use your prayers.
    Thank you very much, I need some good news

  • #2
    You sound like a good friend. I am glad you found us, but sorry you had to.

    Where is your friend? Denver has Craig Hospital, one of the leading SCI Centers in the world. It is next door to Swedish Hospital (actually in Englewood). It would be an excellent place for him to go for his rehabilitation. Alternatively, the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago is also excellent. Sometimes it is better to be close to family, esp. if there is a close-by excellent specialty center.

    Many people do get significant return from spinal cord injuries like this. You cannot tell by just looking at the cord how much damage is done (rarely is the cord is nearly always bruised). Even an MRI cannot tell you how much damage actually has occured at the cellular level, which is what is important. Only time will tell if he will get more back and how much. It will take at least 2 years to tell this.

    Regardless, life is not just walking. The SCI has an effect on all his body systems, but it is possible to lead an active and fulfilling, and happy, life in spite of a spinal cord injury. This includes friends, travel, work, school, sports, family (even children) if he wants that. He needs friends like you to stick with him through this ordeal, and his adjustment to a different life.

    Do some reading in the articles by Dr. Young which you can link to from our home page.

    Please come back and ask more questions. Share our site with him and his family. We can help.

    The SCI-Nurses are advanced practice nurses specializing in SCI/D care. They are available to answer questions, provide education, and make suggestions which you should always discuss with your physician/primary health care provider before implementing. Medical diagnosis is not provided, nor do the SCI-Nurses provide nursing or medical care through their responses on the CareCure forums.


    • #3
      sorry to hear about your friend. i to broke my c5/c6 in august 2009 in a swimming pool accident. sci nurse is right life still goes on even if you cant walk you just have to adapt to your new way of living. i am greatful i have the loving support of my wife and 3 daughters, your friend has alot of therapy and learning to do, he is still new and alot of swelling around the cord to early to tell how he will progress we will pray for him and i hope he has a full recovery.


      • #4
        Welcome to the forum. It's very early days for your friend. The important things to watch as he waits for any return are his breathing and skin condition. Many people with cervical injuries develop pneumonia and/ or pressure sores. Either one will slow recovery and can be easily avoided with some vigilance.


        • #5
          I hope your friend goes to Craig hospital in Englewood.
          My husband has a higher level complete injury with little physical recovery, but they taught us how to live in our own home and made sure we had the right equipment.
          It is too soon to know what will happen with your friend, but he can make use of what he has by going to such an excellent rehab.


          • #6
            Thank you very much. This is all very sudden and incredibly scary for him and his family. He is currently in the icu and they are hoping to move him to Craig later this week. The family wants him back home I'm Chicago but they cant transport him. Thank you try much for your support I will relay your information back to my friend.