A family journey: 14-year-old Kollin Galland fights back after trampoline accident

Published: Sunday, Sept. 29 2013 11:50 p.m. MDT

Gary Galland and Jodie Galland give their son Kollin a high-five while talking about getting stronger at Primary Children's Medical Center, Tuesday, Sept. 24, 2013, in Salt Lake City. Kollin was doing a double backflip Sept. 2 on a friend's trampoline when he broke his neck and now is paralyzed from the neck down.

Tom Smart, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — The students surrounded the trampoline as 14-year-old Kollin Galland bounced high, and higher still. He was about to do a double blackflip, the trick he had perfected on the diving board, mastered on the trampoline, and even done while skiing.

“It was dark, and so the tramp was black and the sky was black,” Kolin said, recalling the moment. He took one last bounce and threw himself backward, tucking and looking.

“I just opened up early and thought I was landing on my feet.”

But Kollin didn’t land on his feet that night on August 30.

“I landed on my head,” the 14-year-old said, with a quiet smile and an exhale of air that in any other circumstance might have been a laugh.

On a recent Tuesday afternoon, as his friends and classmates are making their way to class and football practice, Kollin is meeting with a speech therapist he calls the “swallow lady” to see if he’s now able to eat and drink food on his own.

She brings him a sampling of water, an orange slush, pudding and Froot Loops.

The water is difficult and moves too fast when he drinks. Kollin isn't sure it went down the right way. The pudding is easier. "It's thicker, and gives your swallow more time," the therapist explains to him.

She spoons him a taste of the orange slush. He closes his eyes and absorbs the citrus flavor with a soft smile for a few precious moments before swallowing. But it's not the taste. He can feel the ice-cold drink go all the way down. He knows he swallowed the right way.

Three weeks after the landing that broke his neck, Kollin Galland is in search of feeling.

The accident

Noah Yarro is Kollin’s best friend and has known Kollin almost his entire life.

“We would go do everything,” Noah said. “We’d go to a friend’s, go see movies, jump on the tramp, and we would just go hang out and do whatever.”

They were together early on the night of the accident, attending the Timpview football game where Noah said they sat on the rail talking about football and laughing and looking forward to their freshman year of high school.

The game ended and Kollin decided to head to a friend's house for a party; Noah told his friend he would see him later and decided to head home.

A short time later, Jodie Galland, Kollin's mother, said she was just thinking it was time to call Kollin to say it was time to come home from the party. But she got the phone call first.

Kollin's been hurt, a friend at the party told Jodie.

Another call went out from the party to a friend's mother, who is a pediatrician: Don't let anyone touch Kollin, she said.

Another teen guarded the trampoline from any movement. Someone else called 911.

The ambulance took Kollin to Utah Valley Medical Center where doctors did a CT scan. By midnight he was in a helicopter, life-flighted to Primary Children’s Hospital. It would become the family's second home in the week's ahead.

The Gallands are not unaccustomed to hospitals.

Two of their five sons, Devon, 20, and Ethan, 16, were born with congenital nephrotic syndrome, a type of kidney disease.

Jodie gave a kidney to Devon in January 2004 when he was 11 years old. Gary donated a kidney to Ethan in March of 2005.

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