Carson Klingler of Upper Sandusky is used to a challenge. She grew up in foster care. Against the odds, Carson graduated from Upper Sandusky High School and decided to go to college. She started at MTC in the criminal justice program in the fall of 2017.
“I planned on being a correctional officer,” Carson recalled. “I knew exactly what I wanted and how I would get it.”
Then, a devastating car accident during that first fall semester changed everything. On October 20, 2017, she rolled her car and was ejected. Emergency crews flew her to a hospital in Toledo.
The 18-year-old woke up a day later on a ventilator and couldn’t feel or move anything from her chest down. Doctors told her she was permanently paralyzed and had just a 1% chance of ever walking again. Carson had six broken ribs, six broken vertebrae, a punctured lung, a snapped radius, and a traumatic brain injury.
This teenage athlete, who had played basketball, volleyball, softball, and track and field, faced an entirely new challenge. Carson is focused on physical and occupational therapy with the goal of being able to walk again.
This fighter has regained strength and movement in her torso and hips and has some feeling in her legs, below where her spine was injured. Carson hopes to continue to beat the odds.
“I have a chance to walk again depending on my body and its recovery and the inflammation around my spinal cord,” she shared.
Carson is determined to push her body as far as possible toward recovery.
“I live for therapy,” Carson shares. “Therapy is my job. It’s 36 hours a week.”
She gets help with transportation as she goes to Columbus several times a week for physical therapy. “It’s my whole day.” She also goes to many doctor’s appointments, specialists at a spine center, and is exploring clinical trials.
At home, she does her physical therapy as well. It is not easy. Carson lives on her own with the help of aides. “I’m doing it by myself,” she shared.
Despite her entire world being flipped upside down in an instant, this MTC student remains driven, even if her dreams have changed. Carson has found that this injury provided her a different kind of education.
“This year has taught me so much about myself who I am, who I want to be, and definitely who I was. I’m still learning every day how to do things and make things easier,” Carson said. “The main thing is I can still do everything just a little differently. Accepting change is hard, but it’s worth accepting to change.”
Carson hopes to return to MTC, perhaps this fall, but for now, her full-time focus is her recovery.
To see videos of Carson standing with the help of leg braces, get updates on her progress, or support her as she recovers, visit: http://bit.ly/SeeCarsonRun.