The family of a Kaukauna teen left paralyzed after she was hit by an allegedly drunken driver says the high school senior spoke for the first time since the accident.
Tiffany Pohl is being treated at a Denver, Colorado, facility that specializes in spinal cord injuries.
Pohl’s family says she spoke for about two minutes Sunday using a medical device. She’s learning to talk while taking in a breath, instead of while exhaling like most of us are used to doing.
A Luxemburg man is following Pohl’s progress very closely. Nearly five years ago, Dale Jauquet was in the same Denver facility, recovering from a similar spinal cord injury. His life changed forever in July, 2002, when the former roofing contractor fell off a ladder and hit his head on some planks, leaving him paralyzed from the neck down.
“Attitude is probably the most important thing,” he says about recovery.
Jauquet is following Pohl’s progress on her web site daily. He feels a connection with her.
“We understood almost right away that her injuries were quite similar to mine.”
Pohl to Graduate with Kaukauna Class via Web
Kaukauna High School wants to make sure Tiffany Pohl can graduate with her class next month — even if she’s hundreds of miles away in Colorado.
The school is setting up live webcams so her graduating class can see her and she can see them during the June ceremony.
Pohl will be able to watch the whole ceremony from her room in Denver.
School officials will read Pohl’s name for her diploma after the valedictorians and before the rest of her class.
Using his specially-equipped computer, he’s already sent Pohl an email, “just give her a little encouragement and let her know that life can go on in a relatively good manner.”
Learning Pohl spoke her first words over the weekend brought Jauquet tremendous joy. “This is huge,” he said.
Once she returns to Wisconsin later this summer, he hopes to meet with her and share some advice. He said, “We would be very, very willing to tell her the experiences we went through.”
He says there are many challenges to overcome when you’re paralyzed, but talking is a first major step.
His prayers are with as she faces a long road ahead.
“The hard thing is you just have no idea how far you’re going to be able to come back and where your progress will stop.”
By Jeff Alexander