The Snow Skiing Accident and the Questions that Follow

Emily, two days after back surgery after skiing accident
A month ago, my 17-year-old daughter was injured in a snow skiing accident at my son's birthday party.  With multiple fractures in her backbone and a shattered vertebrae with fragments pressed against her spinal cord, the doctors were amazed that she was not paralyzed.  It's a long road to recovery, but surgery went well, and she is walking again.  

We went to a follow-up appointment yesterday with the spinal surgeon, and Emily was wearing her "turtle shell" (back brace) and using her walker.  A 43-year-old man in a wheelchair approached her and tentatively started a conversation, commenting on her turtle shell and the fact that she was able to walk.  He said he was in a snow mobile accident when he was 17, shattering one of his vertebrae (T-12), leaving him paralyzed.  He wanted to remind her what a blessing it was that she was walking, and to also tell her to persevere, not give up, that she was beautiful and still had her whole life ahead of her.  He said life was good, even though he was paralyzed, that he was married and had children and works as a photographer.

When we left, Emily told me to carry her walker, she didn't need it, and she limped along back to the parking garage without it, one of the most beautiful sights ever! I would gladly have carried it everywhere and built up the strength in my arms as she rebuilt the strength in her legs. 

Up to this point, I had observed that Emily never asked "why".  She knew all along that God allowed it to happen and would use it for good in her life, whether she was paralyzed or not.  She trusted Him; she was not angry.  Her questions have been "what" - what is God going to do with this in her life?  But the "what" questions lead back to "why", and now the "why" questions begin.  

She asks "why am I NOT paralyzed?"  Her T-12 was fractured, not shattered.  It was amazing she could still walk.  Why does the man in the wheel chair live in it the rest of his life while her T-12 heals and she walks again? 

I don't know the answer, but I am thankful that she is walking, that life will return to 'normal' eventually, and I am looking forward to seeing how God is going to use this in her life.


  1. Emily,
    Praise God for your health and recovery process! I know God's blessing is involved here, but I also know you have to be a strong young person to be smiling like you are in both of these pictures. Cheryl and I will be praying for you. Can we put you on our church's prayer list as well?

    1. Emily says yes, please do! And thank you so much for your prayers.

  2. Emily,
    I am inspired by your faith as you recover from this horrible injury. You can tell that God is not only working through you to strengthen you physically, but also mentally and spiritually. I will add you to my prayer list as well!

  3. Emily is very fortunate. Back injuries are usually unforgiving, but it seems that your daughter's injury was not the worst case. It must be great to see that she can walk on her own now, and that she's truly on her way to recovery. I hope everything else that pertains to her accident has been taken care of, so that you guys won't have to deal with any more issues in the future. Take care!

    Roman Barnes @ Johnson and Johnson Law Firm

  4. Your daughter was very lucky, Paula! The injury she have gotten is really terrifying. But it’s fortunate that she didn’t get any injury that could've caused permanent damage. Anyway, I hope she’s doing fine now. Take care!

    Jerry Brady @ Lambert and Williams Law