Valley teen recovers after being paralyzed

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by Stella Inger

azfamily.com

Posted on April 16, 2013 at 11:27 AM

Updated Thursday, Apr 18 at 5:28 PM

PHOENIX  -- A valley teen who was paralyzed four years ago was honored at a Phoenix Suns game Monday night for her amazing recovery.

Mackenzie Saunders suffered a rare injury while playing soccer. Doctors say she injured her tailbone which led to a spinal cord fracture. She ended up in a wheelchair, and doctors were afraid she might never walk again.

But she never gave up hope. "I never really thought of the possibility of me not being able to walk," she says. "I thought of the possibility of me being able to walk at some point in my life."

In the following months and years, Saunders underwent intense physical and occupational therapy. 

"Mackenzie's injury is the only case I've heard of from playing soccer," said Dr. Christina Kwasnica. "Mackenzie's age and determination are helping her progress and regain movement amazingly well."

Today, Saunders is 14, and is walking without any assistance. She looks forward to one day being able to run. Doctors say it could take another year for that to happen.

"I am really glad that I'm getting stronger," said Saunders.

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