11:11 AM EDT, May 14, 2014
Twenty-year-old Joel Haler has been super fit all his life. One afternoon, the college sophomore was working out when he felt a sudden pop in his back. His legs went numb and by the evening, he says he lost all feeling in his lower body.
He told INSIDE EDITION, “I went from the healthiest I’ve ever been to paralyzed in the blink of an eye.”
His mom, Karen, couldn't believe what was happening, saying, “It was really hard not to cry. I wanted to be strong and supportive.”
His dad, Eric, was in disbelief at the sight of his son in a wheelchair. He said, “When I saw his legs dangling. I lost it.”
For the next three months, Joel was confined to a wheelchair.
He said, “I cried almost every single night.”
Home video of Joel shows him on a robotic device going through locomotive therapy, trying to awaken his paralyzed limbs.
He said “I’m praying, 'God, do something. Wake my legs up.’”
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But nothing worked. Joel and his folks were as baffled as doctors by his paralysis.
Eric said, “There was no understanding of why. No structural damage to his spine.”
His official medical diagnosis was paralysis.
Joel's dad is a preacher at a church in New Castle, Indiana. He had asked parishioners to pray for his son and that's when four-year-old Braxton Farmer, whose family attends the church, made a stunning prophecy.
The boy said, “He'll walk on Thursday.”
Joel said, “This little boy came up to me and told me, ‘Joel, you're going to walk on a Thursday.’”
What shocked Joel was that a few days before, Joel had a vivid dream about a giant banner.
Joel said, "It was a giant J with the number 23."
Joel wondered if it meant a date. He checked his calendar. There it was: January 23, a Thursday, four days away, just as Braxton prophesied.
Braxton’s mother, Angela, said, “Braxton said he'd walk on a Thursday. Just like that.”
Thursday morning came. A strange tingling came over him.
“I wiggled my toes, I’m like, 'whew,'” said Joel.
Home video that Joel shot of himself showed him walking for the first time in three months.
Joel said, “That is unheard of. Scientifically that is impossible. I am completely 100% positive that this is God.”
Dr. Joshua Cohen, a neurologist in New York City, didn’t treat Joel but says it is highly unusual to see such a dramatic improvement in such a short period of time.
He said, “The power of the brain to control our body could explain a miraculous response.”
Because doctors could not find any physical injury, it was suspected that Joel suffered from Conversion Disorder which tricks the mind into thinking there's an injury that doesn't actually exist.
Now, Joel and Braxton share a special connection forever over the little boy's prophecy.