Wyffels walking despite prognosis | SummitDaily.com

Wyffels walking despite prognosis

BRECKENRIDGE – Breckenridge snowboarder Scott Keys won the Matt Wyffels’ Choice Award after throwing some tricky grabs and spins off the rails and showing up in a one-piece and wig to honor his buddy Wyffels at Friday’s rail jam on Peak 8. The event was a benefit for Wyffels’ recovery from a riding injury that left him paralyzed last year.

Wyffels moved to Salt Lake City last spring after he was released from St. Anthony’s Hospital in Denver, where doctors determined he paralyzed his T-11 and T-12 vertebrae after a bad landing in last year’s high jump contest at Copper Mountain. Doctors also told him he was paralyzed for life from the waist down. Wyffels, however, had different objectives in mind for the rest of his life. He started on a recovery training program in Salt Lake City with the Sit Tall Stand Tall organization, which also is rehabilitating professional snowboarder Tim Ostler, who sustained a similar spinal injury last year.

“Our trainer gets us to work on different types of strength,” said Wyffels from the top of the rail jam contest Friday. Vail Resorts flew him out from Utah, and the event raised $2,435 for his rehabilitation training.

“I haven’t talked to my doctor since I left the hospital,” he said. “The doctors said it was no good. They laughed at me when I said I wanted to walk again. They said I needed to realize the severity of the injury. I said screw that.”

Wyffels can walk with leg braces and said he almost can feel his legs.

“I can feel them a little bit, in a weird way,” he said. “I’ll get goose bumps now, and my legs sweat, which is not really supposed to happen (according to the prognosis).”

While he wasn’t sure if he ever wanted to compete again on a snowboard, Wyffels said his goal was to be back on a board and riding by next April. He planned to take his chances on the bunny hill at Breck before the end of the weekend.

“I just want to be able to ride – to be a soul rider like on the powder days,” he said. “I’ve found the lord through all this too. I couldn’t do it without his support. It’s been very difficult. But, it’s a year later, and I think hard work pays off. You can do anything you want to, really.”

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