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

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

“You wonder, ‘Really, do we have another one in this,’” Gary Galland said. “And when this happened I thought, ‘Oh, can we really do all this again?’ And it’s actually been, it’s been OK. ... We’ve learned with the first two.”

Jodie Galland now calls those experiences the preparatory years.

“Going through all those experiences with my kids that have kidney disease has kind of prepared both my husband and I to, in our minds, think ‘OK we got this,’” she said. “We can do hard things. We’ve done hard things before and this is another hard thing, but we can do it and we can be successful at it.”

Helping Kollin

Noah, the best friend, was awakened by his mother the morning after the accident.

“She was like crying and she just looked at me and said, ‘Kollin was paralyzed,’” Noah said.

“It took a while for it to kind of sink in because like, I just hung out with him and he was fully functional… I just kind of sat up after she said that and I just told her to leave. I just sat in my bed and I just thought about it. I didn’t know what to think.”

That afternoon Kollin underwent surgery to fuse his C6 and C7 vertebrae together. Jodie Galland wrote in a blog she began that her son has no feeling from the chest down, but has the use of his arms.

“We’re just freaking out over that,” she said. “If you’ve got your arms, you can do anything.”

The doctors told Jodie Galland that her son would be in the ICU for about three days. But that stretched to three weeks.

“I can’t breathe.” “I need air.” “Heavy.”

Those words came from Kollin and were recorded on the blog by Kollin's mother during "the days I’d rather forget about.” But this is a blog about hope, she says "because (I’ll) want to remember how far Kollin has come.” She then adds, “You should always try to paint a realistic view of your journey.”

The journey

Doctors assured the family that Kollin's difficulty breathing was normal. But Jodie described watching her son struggle to breathe as “pure hell.”

The doctors discovered a hematoma had formed behind Kollin’s trachea, pushing on it just below his breathing tube. They lowered the breathing tube to expand the collapsed area. That helped.

“These were unfortunate setbacks that he had,” Jodie said, as she tugged on a silver necklace supporting three charms: one that spells Kollin, another the #32 for her third son’s newly retired football number, and a little aqua marine bead representing Kollin’s birthstone.

“He’s making up for lost time,” she said.

On a recent weekday Kollin is whisked away to physical therapy where he sits and grasps the edge of a bench, supporting his entire body with just his arms. His head is bowed in concentration, sending his long blond hair falling into his face

"Can I fix your hair?” says his mother, as she and her husband watch their son's progress.

He practices sticking colored blocks with Velcro on a board and pulling them off. His fingers work to recall the dexterity he knew so well just a few weeks ago. The physical therapist asks Kollin if he wants a break, to which he replies, “Let’s just get this over with.”

The therapists cheer as he rips the blocks down one by one, “You’re doing it,” they exclaim.

“Because I’m upset,” he jokingly replies, but with raw determination as he knocks the last block off with his hand.

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