Joey Abicca, a 15-year-old from Encinitas, CA, was crushed in a freak accident while operating an earthmover to build a BMX bike-racing track. The boy was flown to Rady’s Children Hospital in San Diego and remained in intensive care for 11 days with a fractured pelvis and a spinal cord injury that took away his ability to walk, a North County Times article reported.
Two months later, Joey began rehabilitation at Project Walk in Carlsbad, CA. He works out with personal trainers and is making slow, but daily, progress. Joey’s mother Renny Abicca said, “No one knows what to expect, but we know that if we don’t do this, he won’t get better,” the article reported.
Before his accident, Joey was active in surfing, wake boarding, and riding BMX bicycles. Now all his efforts are dedicated toward fully recovering from his injuries so he can return to the recreation he loves. Formerly, patients who endured spinal cord injuries were sent home in a wheelchair. Over the past 10 years, all that has changed. Rehabilitation by way of physical therapy has helped many spinal cord injury victims return to their feet.
Project Walk in Carlsbad is one of many rehab centers all over the country that are helping people like Joey have a chance at recovering the ability to walk. Eric Harness, director of research and development at Project Walk, said that 71 percent of the patients who have attended their programs have achieved some recovery of the use of their bodies over 6 months. He told reporters, “When we started this, people called us crazy And basically, at the time, we really didn’t know what we were doing,” the article reported. His program has come a long way.
The next step for young Joey is to get him to graduate from a wheelchair to a walker. However, the journey is not easy, and neither is it cheap. The Abicca family has started a fund called Team Joey to raise the over $100,000 per year to pay for his rehabilitation costs. Even though the boy is covered by his family’s insurance, the company does not cover all of his rehab costs.
The Abiccas have received a tremendous amount of support from their community in the form of benefits, fundraisers, and even garage sales to benefit Joey’s progress. We wish Joey a full recovery and will report on any developments in his progress as it becomes available.
Webster, Ruth Marvin. (April 11, 2010) “ENCINITAS: Teen rising to the challenges of spinal cord injury.” Retrieved on April 14, 2010 from the North County Times Web site:http://www.nctimes.com/