Football Player Paralyzed For Hours Regains Feeling, Walks
WHITE HOUSE TENNESSEE: (Smokey Barn News) – A football player was injured Friday evening at a game at White House Heritage High school. The initial word was not good, emergency radio traffic indicated that the player could not feel his legs.
Robertson County EMS released the following last night; “A 16 year old male was transported by EMS to the Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt in Nashville after an injury sustained during the football game last evening. The condition appeared serious at the time of transport,” according to Robertson County EMS Assistant Director Russell Gupton.
It was clear that this was not going to be a hit-you-shake-off-and-get-back-in-the-game. This hit would leave the player with no feeling from the neck down. According to doctors a direct impact to the spine caused spinal spasms which caused temporary paralysis.
Though the player regained feeling from the waist up, below the waist he could still feel nothing and his condition would remain unchanged for several hours.
Smokey Barn News reached out to the family Saturday morning. It was clear the ordeal, though short lived, was traumatic for everyone to say the least. The players name is Chrestien “CJ” Ivey, who turns 17 this month, and he’s an Inside Linebacker for the Sycamore War Eagles from Pleasant View.
Jeremy Ivy, CJ’s uncle and a paramedic for Cheatham County was at the game. “Once we got him to the hospital he wasn’t able to feel his legs so they did an MRI which took about two hours. During that time he was starting to get some feeling back in his legs. After the MRI was complete he was able to move his legs again. Throughout the night he improved and this morning he was able to walk around, still a little tender in his back. They told him to just take it easy and that he’s going to have to follow up next week to make sure things are still looking good but he is able to walk now.”
“The hit in the back was more like a spasm to the spine which probably caused the temporary paralysis,” Jeremy said. “The MRI indicated nothing was broke.”
Jeremy witnessed the tackle. “C.J. was making a tackle and there was a big pile up, somebody hit him and he fell and then they all fell on top of him. It looked scary, almost like the player tripped up when he was trying to block but it was a straight helmet into the side, a very unusual hit. It was very scary especially being in the medical field, a thousand things were running through my mind at that time.
“I do it every day for strangers but when it is your family it’s a different story,” Jeremy said.
CJ Ivey and JJ Ivey (CJ’s cousin and team mate)
Smokey Spoke to C.J., “I’m feeling better now but my first initial thoughts were I would never be able to walk again. My uncle was doing testing on my feet but was not getting any reaction out of them. I was trying my hardest to move them.”
For more than two hours C.J. could feel nothing from the waist down. “A couple hours into the ER I started feeling my legs. By 3:00 or 4:00 in the morning I had all my feeling back. As the feeling came back it was like pins and needles almost like when your leg or foot goes to sleep,” C.J. said
C.J. said as soon as the feeling returned he wanted to walk, “I had feeling, I thought they are going to let me walk but they didn’t let me walk until morning.”
Doctors told C.J. that there was no permanent damage so he has the green light to play again after he takes it easy for a few days. “I will probably play for my senior year, C.J. said. “I’ll take a break until Spring ball and then I’ll get back into it, I can play basketball this season,” C.J. said.
The community and the team were a great encouragement to him. “Most of my teammates came to see me after the game and many others texted me or sent out messages of love and prayers on social media,” C.J. said.
C.J.’s dad Terry said he saw the tackle as well. “It looked like a decent tackle and then everybody cluttered together and you kind of lose focus of where and what happened, it just looks like a train wreck, to me it just looked like it closed in quick. Then Christian didn’t get up.
“I was in the stands, my little brother was ahead of me and went faster than I did but I was right behind him. I heard he couldn’t feel his legs, I was very nervous and praying that everything would be OK.”
Later after his son was able to walk again, C.J.’s dad said he thanked God that he was getting his feeling back. “When I saw him walk I was ecstatic, they walked him around the ER.”
“C.J.’s mom Lesley was very concerned but pleased to see that things were going well and once he was walking she was smiling and telling him everything is going to be OK now,” C.J.’s dad Jeremy said.
The family asked Smokey Barn News to be sure to tell the community how much their prayers and support meant to them.
Robertson County EMS, the White House Fire Department and Robertson County Sheriff’s Office all responded to the call.