Paralyzed Teen Wrestler Needed Help Eating, Breathing—Here Is What He Accomplished in 3 Months

April 13, 2018 11:18 am Last Updated: April 13, 2018 11:18 am

A high school wrestler from Walnut Creek, California, who was paralyzed due to a spinal cord injury during a match in January, is determined to walk again. “I’m not going to die in this chair,” he told KTVU. But the task in front of him was overwhelming.

When Ryan Joseph, 16, started his rehabilitation at Craig Hospital at the end of January, he couldn’t eat or even breathe without help.

“When I got here, I couldn’t even roll on my side on my own. I couldn’t push the elevator buttons,” Ryan said.

Less then three months later, however, he’s reclaimed some movement in his fingers and legs.

“A million small victories. It adds up,” he said.

He’s received a lot of encouragement from his parents and friends and a lot of support from the hospital.

His goal is to walk again.

“If I don’t get it done fast, it’s gonna take a while. But it’s gonna get done,” Ryan said. “I’m not going to die in this chair. I have a lot to look forward to.”

He says he’s been doing some school work and plans to return to College Park High next year as a junior.

He wants to take summer classes so he can graduate on time in 2020.