Gymnast makes miraculous recovery from fall - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Gymnast makes miraculous recovery from fall

MIAMI (NBC) - Doctors are calling the recovery Jorge Valdes made from the terrifying fall he was the victim of nothing short of a miracle.

The 20-year-old was in his element, doing flips in his gym when he got lost while in the air and landed directly on his head, dislocating his neck.

"I was trying out a double-front-flip with a full twist, and I got lost in the air, and I landed directly on my head," Valdes said. "I just remembered feeling like fire through my whole body, pain shooting through my arms and my legs."

Valdes was rushed to Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami where doctors did immediate surgery.

They cooled his body for 48 hours using a hypothermia treatment to reduce swelling in his spinal cord.

The surgery and treatment worked, and now doctors said he won't even need rehab.

"For somebody with a complete spinal cord injury, where you have no motor and sensory function below the level of your injury, to be walking out of the hospital a week later is incredible," Dr. Steven Vanni said.

Valdes had been practicing to pursue his dream of trying out for Cirque du Soleil.

"When I was able to move my legs, I started crying," Valdes said. "I started crying because I knew I was going to be able to walk after that."

While he hasn't given up on that goal, he now says a career in physical therapy has piqued his interest.

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