A 20-year-old champion gymnast has amazed doctors by walking out of the hospital a week after he landed squarely on his head while attempting to do a double flip, WSVN-TV reported.
Jorge Valdez, a student at Miami-Dade College, was practicing for tryouts for a Cirque du Soleil production in Las Vegas, when he dislocated his neck and suffered a spinal cord injury. He was rushed to the hospital, where the outlook was pretty grim.
"I thought I was gonna be paralyzed, but it wasn't meant for me to be paralyzed," Valdez told the news station. "I got lost in the air, and I landed directly on my head, and I just remembered feeling like fire."
He couldn’t move his legs or hands, and only had minimal arm movement. But thanks to a relatively new procedure known as hypothermic treatment – Valdez is expected to make a full recovery.
"He had this devastating injury, but we quickly realized what happened to him, and we literally raced into the operating room," Dr. Steven Vanni, a neurosurgeon from the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, said.
Vanni immediately started Valdez on a hypothermia protocol to cool his body down to 92.3 degrees Fahrenheit, which allowed doctors to reduce the swelling and inflammation on the spinal cord.
And on Thursday, Valdez walked out of the hospital in such good shape that doctors said he won’t even need any rehabilitation.
"I'm so grateful that everything happened to have worked in his favor," Jorge's mother, Edith Valdez, said.
This “cooling” treatment is also used in patients who suffer cardiac arrest.