Noah lives with his head in the clouds and his eyes on God. His feet seldom touch the ground. They are most likely pedaling his bike over mountain trails, or sailing through the air as he back flips off a boulder into Lake Allatoona. If Noah is awake, Noah is outside. And like a typical 18 year old, he shares the adventure with plenty of friends. Together they go snowboarding in the winter and wakeboarding in the summer. He plays baseball on a rec league and dives for the Kennesaw Mountain Swim Team. He stays physically fit and agile by working out at trampoline parks, skate parks and bike trails. His two younger brothers, Tucker (10) and Henry (7) enjoy learning all sorts of things from their big brother. Noah can be found in the front yard helping with batting practice, or at the pool teaching them to swim, or at the lake showing them how to cast a line that is sure to snag a bass snoozing beneath the trees.
This year Noah’s sights are set on college like his older sister. Madison is currently taking classes at Chattahoochee Tech. Noah’s ambition is to study audio and video tech. While slapping on a go pro and biking down a mountain for Red Bull Rampage would be his dream job, Noah now works to maneuver his wheel chair through the halls of Shepherd Rehabilitation Center.
This past summer, Noah went with two of his friends to their favorite trampoline park. They were jumping for most of the afternoon, doing their usual flips and tricks. Noah was working on perfecting a flip when he under rotated and landed on his neck, compressing his spinal cord and fracturing three vertebrae. Instantly, he lost all feeling from his chest down. His arms and hands were limp and he had the sensation of being outside of his body. From ambulance to hospital to emergency room, the moments were critical and precious. Within a few hours, he was in surgery. During the five-hour procedure, friends and family began filling the waiting room at Kennestone Hospital. The dive coach and members of the KMHS Swim Team were there. The baseball coach and ball players were there. Members of St. Joseph’s Catholic Church were there. Family from Alabama arrived. And many others prayed in homes and churches from Georgia to California as the news went out on social media.
God guided the surgeon’s hand as two rods were inserted to re-align the spinal cord and eleven screws attached the vertebrae to the rods. Fortunately, the spinal cord was not severed. Noah spent 11 days in ICU at Kennestone Hosptial and then 4 more days on a regular floor before his transfer to the Shepherd Center in Atlanta. Noah still finds reason to be grateful. He is especially grateful for the outpouring of love and support from all the people that he knows and all those that he didn’t know who have come together to help him along this journey. He remains determined to heal and work through the challenges his injury presents.
Noah’s motto: “If I am struggling to do something, it is not I can’t –it is I can’t yet.”