Freak gym class accident leaves 16-year-old paralyzed
EUSTACE, Texas - A 16-year-old Eustace High School student is recovering after a fluke accident nearly robbed her of her ability to walk.
Katie Bivins broke her neck in mid-December. Her family says she was on a rope in an athletics class at school when it broke, sending her crashing to the ground.
On a day most kids put in work in the classroom, Katie found herself an hour and a half drive from school alongside her parents seated outside Baylor Scott and White Rehab in Dallas after having wrapped up day 63 of recovery.
"I now know whether I try to do something or not," she said. "If it's going to break me, it's going to break me. But nothing is going to kill me unless He says so."
Katie was a just normal kid in gym class on December 13. That's when she says a rope she was climbing in athletics class broke, and she fell on her neck. The school called her mom, Crystal, who made it there before paramedics.
"She looked fine," Crystal said. "She looked like I could just pick her up, but I knew I couldn't."
"I was fully conscious every bit of the way," Katie recalled. "So I remember the feeling and the sight of the roof. Everything. I felt like I could get right back up, but I couldn't."
EMTs rushed Katie to the hospital as she was only able to feel her head and a little bit of her arms. The family says the initial prognosis wasn't good, but Katie had other plans.
"The doctor decided at that time that possibly she was not going to be able to be helped," said Tim, Katie's dad. "But she surprised them and moved one big toe."
"I cried so much," Katie said. "My main goal at the time was to walk the stage at graduation, which thankfully I'm going to be able to do now."
Over the past couple of months and with the help of Baylor medical providers, Katie is now walking with help.
Supporters have hosted a 5K to help deal with mounting costs. A GoFundMe page has also been set up to help with the costs.
And while she's away from her classmates for now, the 16-year-old has learned some important lessons outside the classroom.
"God has a plan for everyone," she said. "Whether you like it or not."
There are other medical complications, too, that Katie to deal with the rest of her life. The family said they are incredibly thankful for what the school and teachers have done to help since the accident.