On December 11, 2007, 16-year-old Luke Vogel attempted a ski jump in a park in Colorado. After crashing to the ground, Vogel found his body unable to move as he had just before the crash. In that single instant, Vogel became a quadriplegic. In the beginning, he was angry – rightfully. Two years later, Vogel told NBC News, ‘I’ve come to terms that this is what it is right now, and it’ll be better to deal with it instead of just being pissed off at everyone.’
Vogel continues to work out to keep his body in perfect shape for the day when a full recovery becomes possible, which his doctor says might not be far off. Dr. Stephen Davies from the University of Colorado School of Medicine said, ‘I feel confident in saying that I’d be really disappointed if we didn’t have something within the next five years that is of major benefit to people with spinal cord injuries,’ according to NBC News. Davies’ research into astrocytes and stem cells could provide major contributions in that direction.
Davies’ research focuses on ways to rid the spinal cord of scar tissue buildup and to encourage the neurons in the spinal cord to reconnect across injury sites, which might allow spinal cord injury survivors to regain the ability to walk and move as they did before their injuries. Davies’ suggested that, ‘by placing astrocytes made by using a specific kind of stem cell into the injury site, he can fuel growth across the once impenetrable,’ the article noted.
His research has so far proven viable and powerful in rat models. The next step is to make the leap to studies on human spinal cords. Davies suggests that spinal cord injury victims do everything in their power to keep their bodies strong and healthy, so that when the time comes to attempt new techniques, their bodies are in prime condition to accept and make use of the treatments. Davies told NBC that the human clinical trials are only a couple of years away.
Meanwhile, Vogel continues working out on electrical stimulation bicycles (FES bikes) to keep in shape and to keep the remaining connections in his spinal cord strong. He said he is not holding his breath for a paralysis-reversing discovery, but he holds out hope that he will one day walk again.
Wolf, Jeffrey. (February 18, 2010) ‘Waiting for a miracle that could come soon.’ Retrieved on February 22, 2010 from the NBC News Web site:http://www.9news.com/seenon9news/article.aspx?storyid=132991&catid=509