Girl, 5, Paralyzed After Doing Backbend

Eden Hoelscher's mother says 'extent of damage is unheard of'
By Elizabeth Armstrong Moore,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 16, 2016 7:30 AM CDT
Girl, 5, Paralyzed After Doing Backbend
Eden Hoelscher.   (GoFundMe)

A 5-year-old girl in California is undergoing extensive physical therapy a few months after doing a simple backbend in her living room left her paralyzed from the waist down. Eden Hoelscher's mom, Kylee Hoelscher, reports in a GoFundMe page set up to help with that therapy that her daughter was walking at 9 months, potty-trained herself at 18 months, and rode a bike, sans training wheels, the first time she tried. "She just came out of the womb with so much energy," Hoelscher tells ABC News. Doing flips and falling came with bumps and bruises, so after Eden did a simple gymnastics move she'd done dozens of times before—pushing herself off the ground in a backbend position—and complained that her legs and hip hurt, her mother hugged her and told her to calm down.

A half-hour later Eden's face changed; she said she felt like her legs had fallen asleep and she was unable to move them. That was on Dec. 23; the 5-year-old would go on to spend the next 52 days in the hospital, where doctors discovered she had hyperextended her spine and caused the artery that feeds her spinal cord to stop pumping blood, causing a stroke in her spinal cord and paralyzing her from the waist down. "The extent of damage is unheard of," her mother writes. "Her bowels and bladder do not work. We have to wake up twice a night to move her so she won’t get pressure sores from sleeping in one position too long." Still, Eden was back in school a week after being discharged from the hospital, reports People, and the family is hopeful that upcoming physical therapy and locomotor training at facilities in Baltimore and Louisville will help Eden achieve their "ultimate goal": walking. (See why doctors aren't convinced this woman is paralyzed.)

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