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Loss of Muscular Control                               St. Louis, MO

Donte, 23-

Before Thanksgiving in 1996, I was helping at my brother's football practice. I was tackling them and playing scrimmage without any pads on. My dad told me to stop before I got hurt, but I told him I wasn't going to get hurt. I got hit in the back with a helmet while running. It did not hurt at that time and I ran the ball in for a touchdown.

Three weeks later I was singing in the choir at church and the back of my left leg started hurting. I went and sat through the rest of the service. While the service continued my lower back started cramping around where I got hit. My dad and a deacon put some ice on it, but it kept hurting. The next week it started getting worse and spread into my left leg. I went to the sports clinic and was told that I pulled a hamstring. I was put on muscle relaxors and pain killers, but they did not help.

Three weeks later my right leg started cramping too. I went back to the doctor and I was treated with heat, told to stretch my legs and continue the medication. After a month there was no improvement and in fact it got worse. It got so bad that I couldn't go to school for the rest of 8th grade. I couldn't even go to my graduation.

I was supposed to go to Riverview Gardens High School, but it didn't happen. I had a year of home school and then started to have trouble walking. My legs were stiff and jerked around and I had to crawl everywhere. Soon I couldn't crawl or write. I went to Children's Hospital where they injected my legs with botulism. They loosened up for a week and then went right back to the same. Eventually I ended up in a wheel chair and was diagnosed with a behavior disorder. I was put on psychoactive drugs, which messed with my head.

I started getting my spine corrected in February of 2002. It felt good! I felt like I could get up and walk. I had more energy and could go out more to concerts, movies, and the mall. I can now walk without a wheelchair and hardly even use a walker. I am close to being finished with my GED and got to go to the prom last year without a wheelchair. I want to go this year without a cane or a walker.

Once I got corrected my workouts and therapy got easier and started helping more. I am to the point where I can run and my calves are starting to get bigger and stronger. Now the Maryville basketball coach wants me to play with them next fall once I get my degree from Rankin Technical University.

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