Benjamin Carroll

Teenager Defying ‘1 Percent Chance' of Recovery After Paralyzing Staten Island Polar Plunge

A Staten Island teenager who suffered a paralyzing polar plunge injury is about to defy the odds.

Michael Wright suffered a spinal injury during the Staten Island Polar Plunge in December that some doctors feared would prevent him from ever walking again. However, those same doctors now say he’s a miracle.

Just four months after the horrific injury, Wright is walking again and getting ready to cross the stage at his high school graduation in June.

Doctors said he was rushed to the hospital immediately following the injury on Dec. 4, 2018, and was quickly put into surgery.

Dr. Edwin Chang performed lumbar fusion to relieve pressure on Michael's spine and he said he saw hopeful signs immediately after surgery.

“Time was on his side,” Chang said. “In the recovery room, Michael was able to move a toe; we were encouraged by that. By the time he left the hospital, he was able to move muscles in his legs.”

After surgery and extensive physical therapy, just four months later, Wright is walking again, and defying the odds.

“With this type of injury, there’s typically a one percent chance in recovery,” Chang said.

Now, Wright is ready to walk the graduation stage, grateful for every step forward.

"I feel great, like nothing has changed. I got back up on my horse,'' he said. “One big motivation I’ve had was returning to school and spending the rest of my senior year with my friends.”

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