Teen Takes First Walk in the Park 6 Years After He Was Paralyzed: 'I Haven't Given Up Yet'
A simple walk in the park was a major feat for this Tennessee teen, whose entire body was paralyzed only six years ago.
Kyle Mules, of Greenback, grew up like any other active kid his age. His hobbies included hiking, biking, camping and basketball. But all of that came to a halt when he was just 10 years old.
His mom, Kelly Mules, said it all started as a cold. She kept Kyle home for a couple days before they went to the hospital.
"He was in so much pain," Mules told InsideEdition.com. When her son told her that his feet and hands hurt, and he lost his taste, she said, "I knew something's wrong."
But the hospital dismissed the concerns as a boy's excuse to skip class, until nearly a week after, Kyle returned to the hospital and was checked into the ICU.
Within 12 hours, Kyle was completely paralyzed. He was diagnosed with Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS), a neurological disease that is extremely rare, especially in boys his age.
"Every muscle in his body stopped working. He wasn't even breathing on his own," she said. "Everything hurt. He felt like a rock was crushing him when I was leaning on him."
Mules said he was hooked onto a ventilator, and had to be fed through a tube. The boy could not even move his eyes.
But it was clear Kyle was not ready to give up. Slowly but surely, he began recovering and regaining control of his muscles — even when doctors didn't think he would survive.
"We had one doctor tell us, 'Oh, at least you're among the living. I didn't think you would make it this far,'" Mules said, "which was a horrible thing for your doctor to say to you."
The mother-son pair spent the next six years in and out of hospital rooms, physical therapy sessions, plasmaphesis sessions and surgeries, until finally, doctors came up with a special brace to help him get up and out of his wheelchair.
"It was very hard just to get him moving. He was walking like a penguin," his mom joked, "but I think these braces are going to change his life."
She explained that because he has been in a wheelchair since he was able to get out of the hospital bed, the muscles in his legs have become extremely weak, and the joints and tendons of his knees have formed to the position of his seated legs.
But the technology in the brace locks into place when he is standing, and helps his knees bend and support the weight of his legs when he takes a step.
Now, at 17 years old, Kyle is ready to take his first steps in the park, six years after becoming completely paralyzed. WVLT captured the entire event on camera.
"He did great," his mom said, emotional. "I haven't given up yet."
She said that although her son has only been using the specialized braces for the past week, she has already seen improvements in his life. He's now able to reach the stove to cook for himself, and grab items in high places.
"I'm so hopeful. I see so much potential," Kelly said.
For the rest of July, Kyle and his mom will visit Florida on vacation, where he will take his first walk on the beach, and explore Disney World without the hindrance of his wheelchair.
Kyle's dream is to walk down the aisle at his brother's wedding this fall, and stride across the stage at his high school graduation next year.
One day, he may even learn to drive a car, a skill many kids his age would take for granted if not for his complicated past.