Trampoline Tragedy; Teen paralyzed waist down, keeps spirits high

Published: Jun. 30, 2016 at 10:58 PM CDT
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15-year-old JT Simpson was told this week he'll likely never walk again - paralyzed from the chest down.

In a hospital bed in Mercy's Intensive care unit, JT told his mom and dad, " My feet tingle. I can feel them." Which is a sign of hope for Simpson. Being told you may never walk again is the type of news that would dampen just about anyone's spirit, but not JT. The vivacious teen is more focused on all the love and support he's receiving. "My little buddy Dillion made me some rubber band bracelets," Simpson told Ky3's Jehan Sheikh.

JT calls himself a dare devil, always up for a challenge. But when he attempted to do a double front-flip on the trampoline, he landed wrong. JT shifted and shattered parts of his vertebrae. " This time I asked for help on a double bounce. Instead of going higher I went lower. I didn't get a full second rotation and i landed on top of my head," says JT.

JT's mom, Gloria was home at the time the accident happened. " He was laying on the trampoline, one arm kind of tucked under him and I asked him if he was ok. He said, 'mom, I can't feel my legs, I can't feel my hand, i think i broke my neck.'"

Gloria and JT's Dad, John haven't left their son's side. JT's 4 siblings either. It's hard for them to believe one wrong move on a trampoline has changed JT's life forever. " It's going to be they said at least 6 months and then another year after that possibly of more extensive therapy. He's got a long road ahead before he ever even comes home," says Gloria.

The family is grateful the accident hasn't changed JT's sense of humor. " He's been in pretty good spirits ever since," says Gloria. "Even when we got on the ambulance and he asked for a subway sandwich. And you know he hasn't said much about being scared....or worried. He's just been worried about those that were there." As JT is trying to keep positive, he's looking at the silver lining. " I don't have to go to summer school," JT said jokingly. Though he may not be able to use his legs again, JT is making sure everyone knows his arms are still in full swing. " That's constantly what he does when people walk in the room, look, I can move my arms. He's been real encouraging and that's been a big deal and it makes us feel if hes so optimistic that we should be too," says Gloria.

JT says he's not looking for sympathy or pity. He's looking at this as his biggest challenge yet.

The Simpson family does have a go-fund me page set up to help with medical and therapy expenses.