Children's Health

Paralyzed Virginia high school grad shocks crowd by walking to get diploma

Graduation Scroll and Book Stack

 (© 2011 C. O'Kane)

Eighteen-year-old Parker Haller’s family wasn’t sure whether he’d walk again after suffering a severe spinal cord injury in a driving accident three years ago, My Fox DC reported. 

After all, doctors said the boy stood a less than 5 percent chance of doing so after the wreck in Ocean City, Md.  

But walk is what Haller did on Saturday, when the Dale City, Va., boy strode across stage to accept his high school diploma. Haller, who used a cane for assistance, elicited applause and cheers from the crowd, who had seen the boy reliant on a wheelchair since the accident.

"It was overwhelming and exciting at the same time," Haller told "I was trying not to overthink it because I didn't want to fall down and ruin the whole moment. I was just focusing on walking across the stage."

About a year ago, Haller and his parents set a goal to get the boy standing up and walking again. His achievement on Saturday was the result of 365 days of hard work during physical therapy sessions.
"One way or another he is going to walk across that stage," his mother, Miriam, recalled saying.
According to, Haller is now striving to walk without any type assistance.

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