‘Surprising, every single day’: After January snowboarding incident Ryan Bodine is walking without assistance | TheUnion.com

‘Surprising, every single day’: After January snowboarding incident Ryan Bodine is walking without assistance

Sam Corey
Staff Writer

It was mere months ago that a snowboarding incident caused Nevada Union High School senior Ryan Bodine to begin looking at a very changed life course.

The severe spinal cord injury left Ryan with an estimated 25% chance of ever walking again, according to what physicians told his parents, Rich and Yolanda. “The doctor also said, ‘I don’t know if your son will hold a fork again,’” recounted Rich.

However, on day three after the incident, Ryan was eating with a spoon, said Rich. The improvements continued.

After being flown from a Reno hospital to the Santa Clara Valley Medical Center, where Ryan was to do physical therapy for six weeks, a physician shook his head at Rich after seeing Ryan walk the center’s hallways with braces. The doctor had only seen two patients with similar injuries walk, Rich said.

Within 10 days of returning home on March 12, Ryan ditched the braces and crutches, and began walking without assistance, said Rich.

On March 28 — Ryan’s birthday — his friends threw him a car parade around his home, tossing cards, Girl Scout cookies and hand sanitizer at the front door to celebrate his return from the hospital.

“We couldn’t begin to express our gratitude,” said Rich, who noted that “hundreds of people” visited the family at the hospital and medical center during Ryan’s stay. “It’s things like that that help you get through it.”

Yolanda agreed.

“The overwhelming support of the community was amazing,” she said. “Roots run deep in Nevada County.”


While sad and scared upon hearing the news of Ryan’s incident, Yolanda said she took solace in daily activities, and the small, persistent improvements her son made whenever he’d wiggle a toe a maneuver a knee.

“I had a little ray of hope every single day,” she said.

Making breakfast burritos for Ryan each day he was in Santa Clara, Yolanda and Rich watched as their son exceeded every expectation physicians had of him, said Yolanda.

Ryan’s parents attribute a few things to Ryan’s recovery, including quickly getting Ryan into surgery after the incident, advances in medical technology, Ryan’s youth, his drive, a bit of luck and the prayer circles that sent support to their son.

While Rich said Ryan still has shoulder and neck pain, and that there will always be some sort of deficiencies from the incident, Ryan has currently improved to the point of being able to walk a half mile, and is driving himself to therapy twice per week.

Ryan said that beyond his physical condition, these days he’s thinking more about his future, and whether to attend university in the fall or take a gap year.

His parents say physicians tell them it won’t be too long before Ryan can engage in one of his most cherished activities — sports.

“He should be able to get on a snowboard next year,” said Yolanda.

To contact Staff Writer Sam Corey, email scorey@theunion.com or call 530-477-4219.

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