A year ago, Michael Doherty, a local high school football player, suffered an injury that left him without feeling below his waist. Now, he’s back at home and finishing out his senior year; continuing to make strides in his recovery.
There's been a little time for reflection in the year since Doherty was injured.
“I woke up one morning, went to school thinking I would come home that night after the game...didn’t return to my house till three months later,” Doherty said.
But there's been even more time for progress. Three times a week The Saint Paul’s senior goes from class in Covington to Touro's Neuro Rehabilitation Center in New Orleans.
“I’m getting a lot more strength in my upper body...just working hard. And they’re working me very hard,” Doherty said.
He does it with a smile on his face, and sometimes with a joke or two. But when it's time to get to work, there's definitely no kidding around.
“He’s a hard worker, yeah,” Touro Physical Therapist Sarah Patterson said.
It’s hard to believe it’s been over a year since Doherty’s injury.
“At times it feels like it’s been like three years but at times it feels like it's been a month,” Doherty said.
On Nov. 11, 2016, a coincidental collision during the team's first playoff game caused Michael to break one vertebra and fracture another.
Fast forward a year later, after spending months away at a special rehabilitation facility in Atlanta, Ga., ‘Mighty Michael’ working to regain full mobility and strength. And he’s getting stronger each day.
“It just pushed me to keep going...get full feeling...full movement…” Doherty said.
“He’s always, like, very motivated. He has the kind of competitive spirit like,” Patterson said.
And unselfishly, he gives all the thanks to his close friends and family for their continued support.
“Especially after like a year, they’ve been there since so...I mean I’m very thankful that I have the support because not everybody does,” Doherty said.
Thankful for the progress he’s made, Doherty says he’ll continue to move forward in his progress one day at a time.
“Just keep working hard, everyday…” Doherty said.
Doherty plans to attend LSU following graduation from Saint Paul’s in the spring. He’ll continue his therapy to become as independent as possible.