HOLLYWOOD, Fla. (FOX 13) - A teenager who became paralyzed during a lacrosse game was able to walk out of the hospital, just weeks after being injured.
Chase Lalonde, 16, was paralyzed from the chest down when he suffered a blunt blow to the back of his spine during a game on March 2 in Immokalee, WSVN reports.
The teen, who is captain of his lacrosse team at Westminster Academy in Fort Lauderdale, was airlifted to Memorial Regional Hospital to undergo hours of trauma surgery.
"When he was flown over to us, we were immediately worried about him having a permanent quadriplegia," said Dr. Andrew Rosentha. "But as it turns out, with timely surgery, with outstanding ICU care in the rehab ward, he did as well as we could have possibly hoped."
Though doctors initially didn't know if he would be able to walk on his own again, Lalonde persevered through weeks of intense physical therapy at Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital.
“I did doubt that I would walk, but I didn’t doubt that I could push myself to be able to make progress,” the teen said.
Family and friends gathered on Thursday to watch Lalonde step out of his wheelchair and walk out of the hospital on his own.
“When I took those steps, my legs were like aching, and I just remember thinking like, ‘I’m doing it, the pain will go away. I’m walking at least,'” Lalonde said.