Amazing Teen: From Paralyzed to Ballet Dancer in Just 8 Months
19-Year-Old Brit Was Left Paralyzed After a Violent Attack, But Is Making His Return to the Ballet Stage This Week
This will be one of our go-to stories when we read about disturbing teen trends like the Salt and Ice Challenge and alcohol-soaked gummy bears: 19-year-old Jack Widdowson was an aspiring ballet dancer who was left paralyzed after a violent attack during a night out with his brothers last year.
Doctors told the British teen and his family that it was unlikely he'd ever walk again, as he was paralyzed from the neck down, but in just eight months, Widdowson is not only back on his feet, but he's back on the ballet stage and set for his first post-injury performance this week.
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Dr. Julian Widdowson, Jack's father, says his son's amazing recovery is nothing short of an "absolute miracle."
"Of course we know that Jack still has some enormous challenges and long hours of physiotherapy ahead of him, even just to get back to a normal level of mobility," Dr. Widdowson told the BBC last December.
Said Jack: "Ballet is my passion … this has made me realize that now more than ever. I don't want this injury to define me or my career, therefore even (during) long and difficult hydrotherapy and physiotherapy sessions, I keep focused on the end goal, which is to dance again and hopefully continue my apprenticeship."
And now, less than a year later, Widdowson -- whose father says his flexibility as a dancer likely aided in his swift recovery -- will make his first public appearance on the dance stage since he was told he shouldn't expect to even walk again.
"He may not have lived, he may not have walked, and now we're looking at him in the studio dancing, which is just extraordinary," says Dr. Mary Evelyn, head of post-graduate studies at the London Contemporary Dance School.
Check out the BBC report on Widdowson's inspiring progress, which includes video of him practicing for his return to the ballet stage.