Utah State runner Brittany Fisher gaining strength after 50-foot fall from a Southern Utah cliff

Published: Sunday, May 19 2013 10:55 p.m. MDT

"I have been so busy with everything," she says. "But also I wasn't ready to face everything that my injury entailed. If I didn't write about it, I didn't have to think about it. Now I'm ready to get on with it. It's my own therapy. I'll write about people I've met, the accident, the events and the tender mercies that followed. There's a lot in my brain. I want to have it all written down. It's been a year of a lot of growth, so I want to remember it."

She also plans to devote more time to physical therapy. She is still gaining strength and coordination, as evidenced by her ability to stand and walk with crutches. Her spine was not severed in the fall, but it is unknown how much it will heal. By the time she was released from the hospital, most of the feeling had returned to her legs and she has continued to progress. An active person, she had trouble sitting still before the accident, so being in a wheelchair is especially difficult. She has turned that energy loose in her rehabilitation. She swims a mile three times a week, rides a hand cycle for an hour, performs core exercises and walks as far as a mile on crutches. But she continues to get around largely in a wheelchair.

"I've come a long way already," she says. "If you work, you'll get results. Maybe not what you want, but you're going to get some results."

She spent last semester student teaching to complete her degree in elementary education, but she has decided she no longer wants to teach. She will spend the next year doing volunteer work, writing and pondering her future, which could include graduate studies that would enable her to work with injured athletes or spinal cord patients.

"I'm a firm believer that bad things happen," says Fisher. "You have to talk about them. You can't pretend life is perfect. But you have to have a good outlook."

email: drob@desnews.com

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