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Ryan's Miracle

August 29, 2001, 6:30 PM by Traci Ripperda

At 23 Ryan Odens was an active young man. He played basketball and loved to dance. But in one instant, everything changed. A car accident left Odens paralyzed.

In the crash Ryan Odens broke his neck. Doctors say it's a miracle he survived. However, the real miracle..is Ryan.

Not to long ago Ryan Odens was in a wheelchair. Last year a car accident left him paralyzed from the waist down and Doctors said he might never walk.

"I remember saying how do I tell Ryan he'll never walk again and he said don't say anything he'll figure it out on his own," says Joleen Odens, Ryan's mother.

And Odens did... one night trying to get out of bed.

"The Nurse come in and started yelling at me. "What are you doing, don't you know that you're paralyzed." I was like OK. I was pretty much dumbfounded, by that so," says Ryan Odens

Odens went to Denver for therapy. And made some friends, including former Bronco's Quarterback John Elway.

After hours in the pool Odens' therapy paid off.

"The first time I ever walked was on November. 21, three years from when my dad passed away so I think he was there with me," says Ryan Odens.

And now he has his therapist to help, here in Sioux Falls.

"He's Basically walking now, never using a wheelchair, needing crutches for assistance, progressing away from those even, Tremendous changes," says Lori Woods, Sioux Valley Physical Therapist.

Odens hopes he continues to improve.

"I went to a wedding and everyone was out there dancing and I was sitting there, like well come out and dance. I could but I don't know how long I'd make it out there, so I sat and watched, but it was still fun," says Ryan Odens.

For now Odens dances with his therapist, hoping he's one step closer to full recovery.

Odens' paralysis never slowed him down. Odens and his brother run the family farm in Little Rock, Iowa. Much of the equipment has been adjusted so Ryan can use it.

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