Everyone has a story. What's yours?
Linda Thomas
Jacoby Miles
Jacoby Miles, who was paralyzed two weeks ago in a gymnastics accident, thanks supporters for their prayers and cards. More than $63,000 has been donated to a fund to help with the Puyallup teen's recovery and physical therapy efforts. (Photo courtesy the Miles family)

Paralyzed gymnast reassures friends, 'It's all gonna be okay'

Smiling from her hospital bed, Jacoby Miles tries to reassure people who've heard about her gymnastics injury that we don't need to worry about her.

"I just want to say that it's all gonna be okay and that I'm in God's hands and he has a reason for all this," Jacoby says. "It's all gonna be okay and you don't have to worry."

The 15-year-old was paralyzed from the chest down after landing on her neck during a practice at her Sumner gym two weeks ago.

Jacoby has been moved to Seattle Children's Hospital where she's started physical therapy. Her parents have been keeping a public blog. Their latest entry:

Jacoby had a pretty good day, today. Her overall pain level has become easier to regulate, so she is able to focus more on rehab. She was able to stay in the chair for about 3 hours today without the nauseous feeling that plagued her the last couple of days! It's a mental roller coaster for her, but she is handling it like a champ. Thanks to all for the cards filled with encouraging words. Jacoby thoroughly enjoys reading them!

Miles talked with KING 5 News and thanked people from all over the world for their support over the past two weeks.

"I'm just so grateful for all the cards and all the love and care that people have just shown," she says. "It's just been a blessing."

One of those cards of support came from 3,355 miles away.

Jorge Valdes, read about Jacoby on my blog earlier this week. The Miami, Florida resident knows exactly how Jacoby's parents feel.

Valdes's son, named Jorge, was a champion gymnast training for an audition with Cirque du Soleil. He's done a double-front flip with a one-and-a-half twist countless times.

Two years ago was his last time. He "got lost" in the air and landed on his head.

"I was terrified. I was feeling intense pain," says Jorge.

He lost feeling in one leg, then the other. Soon he couldn't feel anything below his waist. By the time he arrived in the hospital he had no feeling below his neck.

His parents were told the chances of him walking again were slim to none, but doctors in Miami tried a hypothermic treatment that's been shown to prevent paralysis in some cases.

The relatively new procedure cools the body down to 92.3 degrees Fahrenheit (normal body temperature is 98.7). Cooling reduces the amount of swelling and inflammation on the spinal cord to help prevent further damage. That's important because the spinal cord exists in a closed environment and has no room to swell which then can lead to paralysis.

"We were told that at some point in time with therapy that he would someday, possibly, be able to regain the ability to walk," Jorge's father says. "How well he would be able to walk, with what kind of assistance, was unknown."

One week later, the young man walked out of the hospital on his own. He's coaching gymnastics again. When I talked with him yesterday, he had just completed another double-front flip.

"It's gonna be hard for Jacoby, but all she can do is stay positive," he says, "She can do it."

Jorge Sr. is reaching out to Jacoby's mom and dad too.

"My advice to them," he says fighting back tears, "Never lose hope. In my son's darkest moments when he believed he would never walk again, I let him know that no matter what his parents, his family will always be next to him, and we'll never stop loving him."

More than 1,600 people have contributed to an account set up to help with Jacoby's recovery and therapy. That fund now tops $68,000 and an auction is planned for Jacoby on December 17 in Tacoma.

By LINDA THOMAS

Top Stories

  • Seahawks Schedule
    The Seahawks have released the 2014 regular-season schedule

  • Save the Buses?
    A group is gathering signatures to save transit, but Michael Medved has another solution

  • 21 and Over
    If 21 is the legal age for alcohol and marijuana, why not cigarettes?
ATTENTION COMMENTERS: We've changed our comments, but want to keep you in the conversation.
Please login below with your Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or Disqus account. Existing MyNorthwest account holders will need to create a new Disqus account or use one of the social logins provided below. Thank you.
comments powered by Disqus
About Linda
Linda is the morning news anchor and features reporter for KIRO Radio. This is her local news blog, with an emphasis on social media, technology, Northwest companies, education, parenting, and anything else that grabs her attention.

If you have a news tip or story idea, I'd love to hear from you...

To leave a voice message for Linda about any of her stories call toll free 1-855-251-2363

Follow Me on Pinterest



Sign up for breaking news e-mail alerts from MyNorthwest.com
In the community
Do you know a student who stands out in the classroom, school and community?
Help make their dreams come true by nominating them for a $1,000 scholarship and a chance to earn a $10,000 Grand Prize. Brought to you by KIRO Radio and Comprehensive Wealth Management.

Do you know an exceptional citizen who has impacted and inspired others?
KIRO Radio and WSECU would like to recognize six oustanding citizens this year. Nominate them to be recognized and to receive a $2,000 charitable grant.