Doctors Said Man Would Never Walk Again, Now He Is Defying The Odds

By: Chas Gayheart Email
By: Chas Gayheart Email

We often hear about accidents and injuries that leave patients in critical condition.

WYMT's Chas Gayheart has the story of a Knott County man who is determined to turn his injury into a life lesson.

Ernie Gayheart is lifting weights like a lot of people you see everyday, but just six months ago Ernie says doctors didn't think he would walk again.

“The doctors had told me that where the neck was injured here it was telling my brain even though there wasn't a mark on me that everything from there down was twisted, broke, crushed, and bruised,” Gayheart said.

Ernie's says on October 13, 2006 his neck was broken in an accident that left him paralyzed.

After several weeks at Cardinal Hill and a lot of determination, he took the first steps in a room full of people that gave him the courage he needed to keep moving forward.

“I got a standing ovation and after that happened they wasn't no stopping me I saw I could go so then I started pushing it,” Gayheart said.

“An injury like this can really be catastrophic not just physically, but emotionally and draining on the patient and the family but Ernie is wonderful and his family has been very supportive,” Heather Watts said.

Heather Watts has been a physical therapist for eleven years and says this is the first time she has worked with central cord syndrome where the patient heals from the feet up.

“If we don't educate the patient and the family as to what they can do at home to help themselves and get them as independent as possible then we're not doing our job as fully as we should,” Watts said.

Working together three times a week Heather and Ernie say they see progress everyday.

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