The Comeback Kid: Former college football player beats the odds

Robert Naylor suffered a serious spinal injury in 2014, but beat all odds and took his first steps earlier than expected.

TYLER - It started off as a normal day, the Bucknell Bisons were taking on the Lafayette Leopards.

"So, in the back of my brain I was thinking let’s win this game..." said Robert Naylor, Former Bison Football Player

Bucknell was down by four, with less than twelve minutes left in the game. 

“I was on the sideline I waved to my friends, saw my parents waved to them. Got subbed in, put on my helmet, ran on the field. I didn’t get in my stance at all, but I blew up the guard that’s what it felt like, I just blew past them, saw the guy to make the tackle for," said Naylor

A hit gone wrong changed Roberts life forever.

"I kinda just flipped over the pile hit my head the wrong way, a minute later I opened my eyes and I couldn't move,” said Naylor 

Robert experienced a C3-4 spinal injury which left him paralyzed from the neck down. 

"A C3-4 which is fairly high on your cervical spine, typically a complete spinal injury is a C-3, C-4 people have zero function of their arms and legs, and often have to be put on a ventilator to help their breathing," said Michael Merrick, Orthopedic Surgeon. 

The recovery time for a serious spinal injury like Roberts is roughly 12 to 18 months, if at all, but Robert beat those odds. 

"Roberts, by the sound of it, was a complete spinal cord injury those have a low likelihood of functional recovery, certainly very low the degree he has recovered,” said Dr. Merrick

Not only did he beat the odds, he did it in miraculous time, 10 months earlier than expected. 

Robert lives day by day, step by step, and hopes others will be inspired by his story. 

"Anyone going through something bad, like myself, you can claw yourself out of it, it might seem like the worst possible situation, but if you take it one step at a time, you should be fine, hard work prevails. That’s what America is all about," said Naylor.

 

 

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