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Family of paralyzed gymnast thanks community for support

Jacoby Miles was paralyzed when she landed on her neck at gymnastics practice. Her parents say an outpouring of community support is getting them through. (Photo: GetWellJacoby.Blogspot.com)

A 15-year-old gymnast in Sumner is recovering at Harborview Medical Center from a devastating fall that has left her paralyzed from the chest down.

"It's every parent's worst nightmare," says Dori.

Her parents were devastated, but Jacoby's father, Jason Miles, joined the Dori Monson Show to thank his community for the outpouring of love and support that has encouraged his family.

Jacoby, a promising and experienced level 9 gymnast, was warming up, practicing a routine dismount on the uneven bars on Friday, Nov. 16 when she had her accident.

"She got lost during the second rotation of her double back and opened up early and then landed on her neck," said Coach Melanie Roach in a Facebook post.

She was paralyzed instantly; the fall had pinched her spinal cord.

After a successful surgery, doctors are optimistic that she may regain feeling in her arms after swelling subsides, but they say she will probably never walk again.

"The true blessing, I mean - there's no head injury or vital organ injury. She's able to breathe on her own, and that's amazing and wonderful in and of itself," said Jason.

Gretchen Miles, Jacoby's mother, started a blog to tell her community about her daughter's accident.

It started with Jacoby's gym donating meals for the Miles family and continued with Jacoby's coach, Melanie Roach, donating the profits from her new book to help with Jacoby's care.

Now people around the world are reaching out to the family through the Jacoby family's website. Complete strangers are offering everything from advice to financial support. Her hospital bed is surrounded by stuffed animals and balloons.

Some individuals with similar injuries reached out to the family to tell their story. Jason said it was inspiring to hear from people who had gone on to lead fulfilling lives in spite of their disability.

"It's been so helpful, all the encouraging words and people reaching out to pass that onto her. We're trying to give her that strength," said Jason.

Gymnasts from around the country have sent get-well cards with cash donations.

"That's a big part of what's getting us through," said Jason. "There's such an outpouring of love from our church community, her gym, our kids' soccer club, relatives, it's just been amazing."

The family hopes that Jacoby can repay their kindness by supporting others with similar traumatic injuries.

"I just want to say thank you to everyone in the community, and that's really why I wanted to call in," said Jason. "I just feel like I want to say thank you."

Dori said he is extremely humbled and impressed by Jason's strength. You can help out the family at their website GoTeamJacoby.com.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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About the Author


Jillian Raftery is an afternoon editor at KIRO Radio. She loves the neighborly vibe of the Pacific Northwest and spends as much time as possible outdoors.

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