A boy at the age of 14 became paralyzed after a twister tore through his home in December, has finally walked out from the hospital. Kyle Koehn and his family’s home in Dresden, Tennessee, was flattened out during a twister that tore through four states just a year before.
“I heard the house start splintering and that’s the last we remember until we woke up in the field,” his father, Darwin, told St. Louis NBC affiliate KSDK.
The majority of Kyle’s family ended up about 180 feet from the home, while he was thrown a few yards away.
“He was moaning,” Darwin said. “And I said right there, ‘That boy is hurt bad.’”
Kyle says that he doesn’t remember how much pain he was in after it occurred, but remembers being ‘cold’ and ‘wet.’
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Two weeks later, Kyle was taken to the Ranken-Jordan Pediatric Bridge Hospital in St. Louis, Missouri.
“He had a fracture that involved every vertebrae in his back,” said Dr. Connie Simmons, a pediatrician at Ranken-Jordan. “He had no feeling from his belly button, basically, down.”
Kyle soon realized that trying to learn to walk again was not going to be an easy feat, but his supporters pushed him to keep going.
“They’ll make you do stuff that you think is really hard,” Kyle mentioned. “But they’ll make you do it.”
Kyle’s family also couldn’t be with him during the first part of his recuperation since his parents were tending to their own injuries from the cyclone back home.
“The first time we saw him was here six weeks later,” his mother, Kimberly, said. “That’s how long it took for us to recover enough to travel up here.”
Kyle endured, despite the numerous obstacles he faced, going on a treadmill and working with specialists to walk down steps.
“We knew that this was a kid that was going to fight hard,” Simmons said.
Three months after the occurrence, Kyle was released and left the hospital. His school contracted a bus to drive to St. Louis so that his family and friends could greet and encourage him while he was leaving the hospital. In addition to his local community, Kyle remains thankful for all the support and help he’s received from his team of specialists and therapists.
“They’ve been wonderful, couldn’t ask for better,” he said.
And while Kyle’s road to recovery is still underway, Simmons remains hopeful that he will “continue to improve” and “return to some fun teenage activities.”
Tornados are always dangerous. They can range from weak winds of 40 to 72 mph which is considered an ‘F1’ to violent winds clocking in at around 260 to 318 mph, called an ‘F5’. They can appear nearly transparent until debris and dust are picked up or a cloud forms within the funnel. Oddly, tornados have a peak time when they are likely to occur, which is between the hours of 3 pm and 9 pm. Obviously, they can also occur at any time. These facts along with many more make this case very lucky, and shows that no matter how dire things may seem, if you never give up, there’s always a chance you just might ‘stand up’ to any obstacle.