Teen left paralyzed in near-fatal accident makes miracle recovery

**Embargo: Des Moines-Ames, IA** A Gilbert teen walked into school Friday for the first time since a near-fatal sledding accident paralyzed him.

Iowa – Gilbert teen walked into school Friday for the first time since a near-fatal sledding accident paralyzed him.

Ethan Newell shattered a vertebra after hitting a bump while sledding.

“It was a kid being a kid, right?” said Julie Newell, Ethan’s mother. “Sledding on a snowy Saturday.”

Ethan Newell’s injury required surgery and left him needing to relearn how to move.

“(I was) thinking about what my future could be now, thinking, ‘This isn’t happening, right?'” Newell said. “Being athletic and whatnot, this was, like, the end basically.”

He traveled to Madonna Rehab in Lincoln, Nebraska, and used aqua therapy, a bionic leg and an EKSO suit on his road to recovery.

“Coming out of this, he’s gonna take a message forward for the rest of his life,” Julie Newell said. “He is nothing short of a miracle.”

Students at Gilbert High School lined up to welcome Ethan Newell back to school. The Newell family said the warm welcome meant the most to them.

“I mean, I know he’s a good kid, but having other people know he’s a good kid really hits ya,” said Ryan Newell, Ethan’s father.

“Now it’s fun to be back,” he said. “All the hard stuff’s over.”

Ethan said he hopes to regain full movement soon. For now, his goal is to dance at Gilbert High School’s prom.

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