It's hard to resist a jump or two with a friend ... or two...or three. But this is what nearly cost Parker McCay his freedom.
Parker was a standout athlete at Lincoln High in Abilene, but it was off the court on a backyard trampoline where he fell and his friend fell...on his head. Parker wore a neck brace for a while, but two years later it was discovered in a check-up that what happened on that trampoline never healed, and according to a doctor in Abilene, Parker had become a walking time bomb.
"He said it would be instant death if there was any kind of mild whiplash," said David McCay, Parker's father.
"So that just terrified us for him to play in the front yard or to go to a friends house. Everything changed," added Parker's mom, Julie McCay.
Abilene doctors recommended Parker go to Dallas for what could be a life-threatening surgery to repair a ligament tear between two vertabra at the top of the spine and base of the brain. Instead, he went to Lubbock for a second opinion. As fate would have it, Dr. Viorel Raducan had just arrived at Texas Tech and UMC, the first pediatric spine specialist in West Texas. That's when this family explained they had been living in fear.
"They told us all it would take is whiplash and that would tear and it could kill him or paralyze him," said Julie.
One thing is certain, as trampolines have increased in popularity, so have the number of injuries. The consumer product safety commission reports that in 1991, there were about 37,000 trampoline injures. By 1998, that number had jumped to 95,000 emergencies.
"They usually happen exactly the circumstances that Parker's did. Kids playing and not in a supervised environment," said Dr. Raducan.
So was Parkers outlook really that bleak? "What can happen, that particular area which is high, close to the base of the skull, can be left unstable. And it may not be able to sustain daily stress that anyone else would," said Dr. Raducan.
But after an MRI at UMC and then another one a month later. Dr. Raducan had a surprising conclusion. That for unexplained reasons the space in his spine that was unstable and could have triggered paralysis was gone.
"That healing doesn't happen. Not with that particular ligament," said Dr. Raducan.
"It's amazing. I was thrilled when I found out," said Parker.
"He said to Parker, it's unexplainable and he said he knew his friends had been praying for him," said Julie.
So this family is convinced that in this case, Team UMC included the man upstairs with two lessons learned. First, that kids on trampolines need supervision and second, that a devastating diagnosis needs a second opinion and a lot of prayer.
"This is the exception to the rule a higher power was involved and took care of things for us," said Dr. Raducan.
The Children's Orthopedic Center at Texas Tech and UMC is an important referral center for all of West Texas, New Mexico and Oklahoma.
The 2006 CMN Celebration air this weekend, June 3rd & 4th, on NewsChannel 11.
|2006 Children's Miracle Network Telethon|