Local Athlete's Lesson In Life....One He Never Expected

By: Erin Logan Email
By: Erin Logan Email

At all stages of life we learn lessons. One being hope for the best, but prepare for the worst. As a high school senior gears up to get his diploma on Sunday, he thinks about the lesson that taught him the meaning of those very words.

He was supposed to be the starting running back, and he was supposed to be the senior track star at Penn High School. But, 18 year-old Robert Campbell says he can’t believe how quickly his dream was ripped from underneath him.

“You're sitting there one day thinking, “I’m running timed 40's and the next day I can't move my legs or arms. At first I was quadriplegic.”

The sack of his life has become his road to success. Campbell says, “I was in the hospital and told I was never going to walk again. Every morning I would wake up screaming for hours and I still do.”

Suddenly, his worries in life were no longer about losing games or girlfriends. Doctors put Campbell on medication to control his fast heartbeat. Then, months later he had a reaction to the medication, passed out at home, fell down the stairs, and injured his neck and a vertebrae in his lower back. Turns out, he suffered a spinal stroke.

As depressed and angry as he was, Campbell took the lessons he learned on the field and put them into play. He says, “It makes you courageous beyond a certain point. You can go past those boundaries you think you have.”

There have been quite a few touchdowns! Robert and his family are all shocked by his progress. He's no longer confined to a wheelchair and he's walking, smiling, and loving life.

Campbell says, “It set my priorities straight for the future. Before the injury, I didn't even know what physical therapy was.”

The 18 year-old has a chosen career path and he's working towards it as an intern interacting with patients.

He says, “They'll look at me and say what happened to you? They think it's my foot or leg. When I tell them what happened it's like they'll turn around and there's a new sense of motivation like I can transport my motivation to them. It’s a real good feeling. I would love to have that feeling for the rest of my life.”

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