Van Alstyne man continues to defy odds after 2013 sledding accident

VAN ALSTYNE, Tex. (KXII) -- Almost four years ago when Riley Sprowl was 16, he suffered a severe spinal cord injury in a sledding accident that left him paralyzed.

Doctors initially told him he would have about a five percent change of movement from the collarbone down, but Riley quickly proved them wrong.

"Two weeks later I defied that. I moved my biceps for my arms, exactly two weeks later after they said that," said Riley.

"We knew Riley - how he was before the accident and we knew that if anyone was going to improve with what they had, it was definitely going to be him," said Karla Sprowl, Riley's mom.

News 12 last talked to Riley in 2014, when the then senior was chosen as Van Alstyne's homecoming king.

"The support has been outstanding and it still is," said Jason Sprowl, Riley's dad.

Today, Riley is studying at Collin County College and hopes to get a job in the technology field.

"I want to do something I can be successful in and something that I can really contribute to in the world and hopefully help people out," said Riley.

He also goes to physical therapy in Addison three times a week.

"So many positive stories from there," said Riley. "Been working on my triceps, my triceps getting a little stronger, my core, you know, my balancing and another important part is being able to stand up."

Riley says the therapy has even helped him mentally.

"Every time I see a video of him at R.E.A.C.T. or doing something else, whether it's standing straight up for a certain amount of time or squatting or leg pressing - it's incredible," said Alex Phillips, Riley's longtime friend.

"It's really inspiring, it really pushes me as a student, as an athlete and as a person, seeing him work so hard. It's a great example of what I need to do," said Kearon Redmon, another one of Riley's longtime friends.

His parents said his injury hasn't changed Riley's positive attitude.

"It's really remarkable, I think we get down more than he does," said Jason.

"I don't think without my faith I would be able to get through this. I don't think anyone could," said Riley.

Even though Riley can't play sports anymore, they're still a huge part of his life and he hopes to some day compete as a part of an adapted sports team.

To keep up with Riley's progress, you can follow the 'Pray for Riley' Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/pray4riley/



 
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