Six-year-old Eden Hoelscher has struggled to walk since December 2015, when a casual backbend had serious consequences.
While playing in her Palos Verde, CA, home, Eden decided to show off a cool trick, bending backward to do a bridge, a gymnastics position. Moments later, she told her mom, Kylee, that her legs felt like they were “sleeping,” so Kylee rushed Eden to the hospital, where doctors confirmed she had suffered a spinal stroke.
On December 23, 2015, when she did a bridge (a backbend where you push yourself up from the floor) on our living room floor and then collapsed crying, I shook it off. When she cried that her legs, back and hips hurt, I gathered her in my arms and rocked her, shushing her, telling her to calm down.
But this time, Eden didnt pick herself up off the ground, dust herself off and go on her next crazy adventure. Thirty minutes after she started crying, she stopped. Her face changedit kind of filled with wonderand she told me, “Mom, I feel like my feet are sleeping.” I looked at her body, which seemed to be posed awkwardly on the bed, and told her to move her leg. She stared at it, saying, “I cant, Mom.”
I put her and her sister in the car and rushed to the hospital, a day that started her 52-day stay in the hospital where we learned that that backbend turned our independent daredevil into a paraplegic. That backbend, something she had done hundreds of times before, had hyperextended her spine and caused the artery that feeds her spinal cord to stop pumping blood, causing a stroke in her spinal cord.
Eden’sinjury left herin a wheelchair, but she’s been making great leaps in physical therapy ever since. She’s been going to daily therapy sessions at the Frazier Rehabilitation Institute in Kentucky, where her family relocated after Eden’s accident.
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