Morgan Lusty

Morgan Lusty

Spinal Cord Injury

Morgan Lusty has been an athlete his whole life. The 20-year-old student-athlete played a variety of sports growing up and, as a freshman at East Texas Baptist University, was member of the school’s football team. Along the way, he learned the value of teamwork and coming together to achieve common goals. Suddenly, however, he found himself on a new team, fighting to win back his life.

On a cold evening in April, Morgan was hanging out with friends, who dared him to jump into a nearby pool. He accepted the challenge and dove in head-first, striking the bottom of the pool. Conscious, but unable to move, he held his breath until his friends pulled him from the water. They put him in a car and raced to nearby Christus Good Shepherd Hospital.

Doctors in the emergency room determined that Morgan had sustained a broken neck, however the injury to his spinal cord was incomplete – meaning not all of his neurological pathways were injured. This leaves the possibility for functional to return to his limbs. He underwent surgery to stabilize his spine and was placed in intensive care. The injury left Morgan with limited use of his hands and although he had some feeling in his legs, he was unable to walk. He needed to rebuild his strength, relearn everyday skills and regain his ability to walk. To do that, he needed comprehensive treatment and his family chose Baylor Scott & White Institute for Rehabilitation – Dallas (BSWIR-Dallas).

After two weeks in the hospital, Morgan transferred to BSWIR. He says he was impressed by the hospital’s reputation for treating spinal cord injuries and happy that it was in close proximity to home.

As his family and friends rallied around him, Morgan began working with his Baylor Scott & White team on a new "game plan," one tailored to meet his needs and goals of walking and resuming life to its fullest. He drew on the discipline he had developed as an athlete, knowing that it was going to take a lot of hard work and determination.

His physical therapists helped him improve his core strength, balance and endurance while sitting. They also introduced electrical stimulation to activate his muscles and used an automated recumbent bicycle to move his legs. Similarly, Morgan benefited from a range of exercises and activities to increase strength and function in his arms and hands. He’s been able to gain greater independence in performing daily tasks, such as grooming, dressing and eating. Most significantly, he continues to gain more feeling in his lower body and believes he will walk again.

This life-changing experience has renewed Morgan’s faith and, while he doesn’t know exactly what life ahead holds for him, he believes God put him in this position for a reason.

By the time Morgan discharged, he had made tremendous progress and was able to operate a manual wheelchair on his own, move from a sit to stand with a single person assist and perform knee extensions without any assistance. Morgan was able to return home to his family just before the July 4th holiday and is continuing his recovery through outpatient physical and occupational therapy services, confident that he has many more victories ahead.