Quelling Fear As A Mom Of A Quadriplegic Teen

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In The News


teenage quadriplegic in a manual wheelchair with his mom crouched next to him

Emma, mother of four, says her oldest son, Will, 14, "has always been the least affectionate of my four children. Hugging your mom takes time, you need to pause and stand still and connect,” and Will was always too busy actively engaging in sports to bother with stuff like hugging. And so Emma connected with her son through sports, often bonding in the car ride from one event to another where Will would ask, “Can you make sure you stay and watch my match?” That was his way of showing and asking for affection.

Emma’s family’s life was turned upside down when Will became a quadriplegic after a spinal cord injury in January of 2016. One of Emma’s first thoughts after Will’s injury was, “My child only knows how to move; he’s never done stillness.” So many worries flooded Emma’s mind: she fretted over whether she and Will would ever bond again, and she was frightened that her once active son was now trapped in a body that wouldn’t move.

But only three months after his injury, Emma shares that her son taught her something valuable.

“Will has taught me that you can “do stillness” by just being in the moment and by not lamenting over the past or searching for answers to problems in the future that don’t yet exist.”

Will still competes, just in a different way now. He plays Words With Friends on his iPad. “And, most importantly, he has put it out there for all to see that no matter what cage you put this 14 year old, courageous and brave boy in, he will always have the spirit and the energy of a roaring tiger,” shares Emma.

If she’s being honest, Emma says she longs to hear Will say to her once more, Are you going to stay and watch my match? 

“I wish for him to find a new way to move and be independent. I wish for him to find new sports and new passions.”

It certainly sounds like Will is on his way to doing just that.

What new passions did you discover after a life-changing injury? Share your story with us, and you could be featured on AbleThrive!

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