Friday, January 15, 2021

Monthly Archives: December 2006

Spinal cord injury prevention tips

Published: December 29, 2006

Always wear a seat belt. Secure or buckle children into age- and weight-appropriate child safety seats.

Do not ride in a car with a driver who is impaired by alcohol or drugs.

Always wear a helmet when riding a bike, motorcycle, scooter or skateboard, in-line skating and roller-skating and horseback riding.

Make sure the water is deep enough before you go in headfirst. Entering feet first is safer than diving.

Turning pain to gain

Published: December 29, 2006

BARTLETT — More than 18 years ago, 20-year-old Dale Spencer of Bartlett tripped and fell by a set of railroad tracks while taking a shortcut to a party at Northern Illinois University.

The 40-foot plunge left Spencer with a spinal cord injury, paralyzing him from the waist down for the rest of his life.

And even though Spencer always will see his days from a wheelchair, this U46 board member has taken his tragedy and given it a positive spin. He now gives motivational speeches to local middle schools and high schools through the ThinkFirst Injury Prevention Foundation, a national group that works to prevent injuries through education, research, and legislative policy.

Use your mind, keep body safe

Published: December 29, 2006

Paralyzed former race car driver takes advice about spinal cord injuries to students in South Florida high schools.

The high-tech, mechanized wheelchair caught their attention. Students at McArthur High School in Hollywood sat spellbound as former race car driver Darrell Gwynn, 45, of Weston, spoke to them about using their minds to make good choices to keep their bodies safe.

The discussion was part of the first Florida Spinal Cord Injury Awareness Week, aimed at paralysis prevention and promoting safety knowledge and understanding to reduce injuries and accidents.

Connecticut Murderball

Published: December 28, 2006

Depending on how you read the situation, the Connecticut Jammers are either having a bad year or a great one.

The state’s wheelchair rugby team’s one-and-nine record isn’t impressive, but other factors have to be considered. Like how the team’s roster has swelled to 10 players thanks to recent mainstream exposure to the sport, and some of the team’s troubles are explained by the addition of players new to the game.

Oh, to be young and uninsured: Bad idea

Published: December 28, 2006

USA TODAY, in partnership with ABC News, is exploring the issues of being young and in debt in a six-week series that began Monday, Nov. 20. We’ve paired five twentysomethings with members of the Financial Planning Association who are lending advice. And we’re offering tips for managing debt, cutting expenses and saving. Follow the entire series and find online tools and resources at

Young people tend to take more risks than older folks, which is why you don’t see many 50-year-olds competing in the X Games.

But even if you’re not planning to compete in the Skateboard Vert, you shouldn’t go a day without health insurance. Bad stuff happens, even to people who are young and healthy and feel invincible.

Near-term goal is to walk again

Published: December 27, 2006

Last year: The Oregon native was in his sophomore year at Oregon State University, working on a business major (finance management) and playing baseball. He weighed 195 pounds with about 6 percent body fat.

This year: Summers is at home with his parents and younger brother, dealing with what he calls “just a little detour.”

Back on her feet

Published: December 27, 2006

This time last year, Gianna Cotroneo was in a wheelchair, her back in a brace and on the mend after a sledding crash fractured part of her spine.

This time last year, doctors had told the Woodbury teenager she had a slim chance of walking again — and even if she was able to, it could take up to two years, maybe more.

What a difference a year — and simple determination — makes. By early December, the most visible sign the 16-year-old had been hurt was her left foot dragging when she walked. Her progress has stunned her doctors.

freeSpeech- Annette Ross

Published: December 27, 2006

Seven years ago, Annette Ross suffered a spinal cord injury while giving birth.

Injured teen, close-knit town meet challenge

Published: December 26, 2006

061226_a17_injur9371_a17graham26HARTSHORNE — Bobby Graham’s recovery from a paralyzing spinal-cord injury last January has been an example of grace and determination.

The 15-year-old and a friend, Michael Smallwood, 18, were in a near-fatal car crash only a week after another automobile accident took the lives of Hartshorne students Candace Russell, 17, and Mitch Telinde, 18.

Then last month, Tiler Savage, 16, of Hartshorne was killed in a collision on U.S. 270.

Drew’s Life After paralysis

Published: December 24, 2006

The Donnellans had their annual Christmas party one week ago.

They served the same jerk chicken with rice and peas, made by a friend of Fran’s from Jamaica. Friends surged through the doors starting at 2 p.m.

Parents chatted and kids played in the backyard of their Midtown home. Drew sat in his wheelchair in the middle of the room, talking more than ever. Wickett, his dog, sat on his lap.