I Am Never Going Surfing

Jumping off the remarkable story of Spencer Trapp and his fortunate escape from paralysis, is this unfortunate story of an 18 year old named Peter Jessee and a freak accident. Jessee, a three sport star in high school on the soccer team, hockey team and as the football team’s placekicker. After his graduation, the Jessee family from Broken Arrow, Oklahoma took a family vacation to Hawaii. While on a surfing lesson with his sister Peter started to feel an excruciating pain in his back. “He carried his surfboard up to the beach and put it up and shortly he came up and flopped down just like boys do,” said Peter’s mother, Janet Jessee. “But then he complained his back was killing him.”

After a while he asked if he could get a massage but about 45 minutes into the hour massage Jessee’s legs went numb and he was unable to stand. He was taken to the hospital where doctors informed he he had suffered an extremely rare paraparesis known colloquially as Surfer’s Myelophathy, a condition that often happens to first-time surfers. The injury, caused from hyperextending one’s back, is similar to a stroke localized just in the back. According to wikipedia the majority of patients who suffer from it eventually regain their ability to walk but some remain paralyzed for life.

Jessee’s father, Bud was astounded,

“He didn’t do anything stupid, he didn’t do anything dangerous and he didn’t even fall and yet he’s paralyzed.” Forced by the injury to spend two months in a rehabilitation facility in Colorado, Jessee returned to Oklahoma in August. He is still working on his rehab and his family firmly believe he will walk once more.

Peter himself won’t let this injury stop him from living his life, “I have to keep that in my mindset that I’m going to walk again because this injury is too stupid to keep me down,” Peter said.

The story is pretty astounding, and terrifying. I wish Jessee well along with his recovery but I do have one small issue with his father who states in the article that,

“I don’t think there’s anything tougher than going out on a football field and being the place kicker and having the pressure of trying to kick a field goal.” I would tend to think that the QB, offensive line, linebackers, cornerbacks, safeties, etc ALL have it tougher than the placekicker. Sure, the kicker has an occasional pressure-filled moment but those other players actually play the whole game… But again, that’s just an issue with the dad and has nothing to do with his son’s eventual and hopeful recovery.

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