Indy high school senior learning how to walk again after gymnastics accident

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (Feb. 15, 2016) – An Indianapolis teen is proving she can overcome anything.

Three years ago, 18-year-old Macy Huff was paralyzed from the waist down during a tumbling accident while she was preparing for cheerleading tryouts.

“I remember falling and landing and then I was just laying there,” Huff said.

The accident is a permanent fixture in her mind, not as a memory of sadness and regret, but one of how her new life was formed.

“I knew my mind was going to have to be moving forward and not just looking back on the past and dream what I had and dreaming of the future,” she said.

Huff is considered a C5-6 quadriplegic. Her injuries are more complex than many might think when they first meet the energetic and spunky high school senior.

“A spinal cord injury doesn’t even just mean, oh you can’t walk and oh, you can’t move your legs and stuff like that. There’s so much more detail than that,” Huff explained.

Everything has to be closely monitored, from her temperature, to the movement in her hands. Her injuries are so severe, she even has difficulty moving her fingers. Her injuries also prevent her from doing some of the things she used to do with her friends. Around Halloween, she can’t go to haunted houses. If she goes to the movies or the mall, she has to make sure there’s handicapped accessibility. Even her dreams of dancing at prom became a struggle.

“I still do ‘normal’ things with your friends. It’s just harder. I have to think, oh is there a ramp for this. Are there parking spaces for this? Is it accessible?” Huff said.

It takes a lot of planning and hard work for her to make plans, but she’s thankful for the support of her friends and her family. Those are the people helping her find the mental and physical strength to push on.

Part of her healing process is therapy. For exercise and muscle strength training, Huff has been going to Neurohope of Indianapolis. Neurohope was founded by a man who knows exactly what she is going through.

In 2010, owner Chris Leeuw was paralyzed during a kayaking trip with friends. Chris began a lengthy recovery, but when insurance ran out he needed a place to continue to get enough strength to walk again. Leeuw went to a specialty facility in Utah where he eventually gained enough strength to stand and then walk. He started Neurohope in Indianapolis with the hopes of giving other teens and adults the same care he received.

During therapy, Huff uses high-tech equipment to help her stand and walk.

“We have an electrical stimulation cycle. We’re actually only one or two places in Indiana that uses it in the clinician setting,” Leeuw said.

Huff knows she has a long way to go. Each lesson is tiring and filled with disappointments. As her muscles learn to strengthen, she’s inspiring others around her. It’s her positive attitude and drive to succeed that has helped her achieve even small victories. Huff just recently was able to move her toes on her own. While she knows her goals may be lofty, she’s not giving up until she can achieve what some may feel is impossible and what others take for granted.

“On June 4, I’m hoping to walk across the stage at graduation,” said Huff.

For more information on Nurohope of Indianapolis, click here.

For more on Huff's journey, click here.

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