Michael Straight, a 24-year-old horseracing jockey from East Greenbush, NY, is showing promising signs of recovery from an August 26, 2009 accident that resulted in a spinal cord injury. An article in the Times Union reported that Straight was injured during a race at Arlington Park in Arlington Heights, Illinois. His horse fell and threw Straight to the ground. He suffered four fractured vertebrae and severe spinal cord trauma.
Straight and his family moved to Florida in pursuit of intensive rehabilitation. Although he was not covered by private health insurance during the accident, an on-track insurance policy provided by AIG, in addition to a $50,000 rehabilitation allowance provided by a parent company of the horseracing park, Churchill Downs, Inc., and further assistance given by a Community Health Program that offers aid for uninsured patients has allowed Straight to receive continued treatment and physical therapy, the Times Union article reported.
For many months, Straight could not feel his legs or feet at all. Doctors at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago didn’t live up to Straight and his family’s expectations, so they relocated their lives for him to be near Brooks Rehabilitation Hospital in Jacksonville, Florida.Â Straight told the Times Union, ‘The doctor in Chicago didn’t give me much hope. But when I came down here, Dr. Johns said, ‘˜You have to be an outpatient, you have to keep your legs moving and work on this,” Straight said. ‘His last words to me were, ‘˜Mike, you have a lot of potential to walk again.’ ‘
Immediately after his accident, Straight underwent surgery and doctors inserted a rod into his spine to stabilize it. Now, months later, he has experienced twitches and tingling in his legs and sensations in his toes. Although he still has a long road to travel toward a full recovery, Straight, his doctors, and his family all agree that much progress has been made. They remain hopeful that he will walk again someday soon.
- Novak, Claire. (January 7, 2010) ‘From his toes, a message of hope.’ Retrieved on January 10, 2010 from the Times Union website:http://www.timesunion.com/AspStories/story.asp?storyID=885491&category=S…