Paralyzed football player walks across graduation stage to get diploma

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(DESOTO, Texas) — After 12 years in a wheelchair, a paralyzed former football player walked for the first time since his injury at his college graduation.

In 2009, Corey Borner was a rising star at cornerback for the DeSoto, Texas, High School football team when he suffered a spinal cord injury during a routine tackle. After a nine-hour surgery, Borner was told that he had a C5-C6 spinal injury and would be in a wheelchair for the rest of his life.

“Being in a chair you have to make the best of it,” Borner said.

Leaning on faith and family, the 28-year-old Dallas native turned his story into his life’s mission as a motivational speaker.

“You just got to be thankful because it’s a blessing to be alive and still be here,” he said.

On Aug. 14, at the University of North Texas at Dallas, with the help of an exoskeleton suit from the Baylor Scott & White Institute for Rehabilitation in Dallas, Borner was able to surprise his friends and family by walking across the stage at his graduation.

“It was amazing being able to walk across the stage. It was actually a surprise. I told everyone that I had a special guest,” Borner said.

For Borner, walking across the stage was a culmination of over a decade of work and only the beginning of his story.

“I plan on continuing to be a motivational speaker and share my testimony to others,” he said. “I made a promise to myself in 2009 that I will always keep my story alive.”
 

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