After his all-terrain vehicle crashed near his home in Wasilla, Alaska, in March, Isaac Turnbull had the presence of mind to call his dad. He was okay, he said, except for one thing: He couldn’t feel his legs.
Isaac, 16, soon learned that he had fractured his back and injured his spinal cord. In a split second, he lost the use of his legs.
After three weeks in an Anchorage hospital, Isaac came to Seattle Children’s Rehabilitation Unit to continue his recovery and begin to learn the skills he would need to live in a wheelchair.
“When he got here he was feeling pretty hopeless — you could see it all over his face,” said occupational therapist Emily Sabelhaus, who worked with Isaac.
The goal of rehabilitation is to help patients find a way to get back to the activities they love, Sabelhaus said, but at first Isaac — an Alaska kid who loves to hunt and fish and be outdoors — couldn’t imagine how he would do that. He couldn’t see that his life, while different than he expected, could still be fulfilling and happy.