A high school lacrosse player who wasn’t sure if he’d ever walk again took his first steps at a Florida hospital.
Chase Lalonde, 16, was paralyzed from the chest down on March 2 when he was hit on the back of his neck during a game. On Thursday, he walked on his own in the lobby of Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital in Hollywood, where he'd been undergoing rehab.
“There are very few phone calls that we get in the trauma world that make us more concerned than something about a brain injury or a spinal cord injury,” said Dr. Andrew Rosenthal of Memorial Regional Hospital at a press conference.
Right after his injury, Lalonde, who is the captain of his lacrosse team, was flown to Memorial Regional for surgery. He had suffered injuries to the C3 and C4 sections of his spine.
“I stood and just fell straight back and lost all feeling, I was just, 'Crap, I’m done,’ in the back of my mind I’m just, ‘Yep this is it, I’m paralyzed,'" Lalonde told WFOR-TV of the moment after he was hit.
Doctors said they initially feared he might be permanently quadriplegic, but things began looking up as Lalonde went through weeks of intense rehab at Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital, where he was moved following the surgery.
He was greeted by loud cheers as he walked out of the lobby while being discharged last week.
“Pack your bags!" staff shouted. "Go out the door! No more rehab anymore!”
Lalonde said at a press conference that he was in pain while he walked and his legs were "aching."
"At least I am walking," something he doubted might happen during his recovery.
“This is the best possible outcome we could have hoped for,” Rosenthal said.