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

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

Kollin’s parents watch him throughout the exercises, always smiling.

“Every little teeny tiny thing he is able to accomplish we celebrate it,” Jodie Galland said. “Things that we take for granted every single day until something like this happens and then we realize, ‘Wow this is a huge accomplishment for him to be able to do.’”

When Kollin finishes his exercises he is placed in a wheelchair. Gary Galland leans down and tenderly kisses his son on the forehead before pushing the wheelchair toward the elevator doors for some fresh, rooftop air.

Gary Galland said he looks forward to being Kollin’s partner throughout training and rehab.

Kollin's desire

Rick Reigle, Kollin’s physical therapist, said 95 percent of the battle is mental.

“There’s so much that’s not known about spinal cord injuries so far,” he said. “It’s really hard to put a limit on what people with spinal cord injuries can do.”

He said especially when it comes to someone like Kollin, who did 60 push-ups when his therapist asked him to do 10.

“I don’t think anything would really surprise me with Kollin,” he said.

Gary Galland said his injured son has been putting a smile on his face since the moment he got to the edge of the trampoline that August night.

Lying immobilized on the trampoline, he spoke to his friends, but they were words that comforted his father:

“He said, ‘Girls will you still like me when I’m in a wheelchair?’ and laughed about it,” Gary Galland said. “Granted, he probably didn’t realize how serious or what a reality that was going to become, but he’s had that positive attitude with it. It put a smile on my face when I was there, because you’re afraid, but he had good humor and it’s worked out.”

While the family waits in Kollin’s room before physical therapy his dad leans down and jokes with him:

“You gonna get bigger arms than me? You think so, don’t you,” Gary said with a wide, genuine smile. Then he asks Kollin for a high-five, placing his hand strategically, pushing Kollin to reach farther. Gary asks for a high-five with the other hand.

“How about this high?” he coaxed.

Gary said what brings him the most joy is seeing a smile on Kollin’s face.

“Just being by his side, seeing the small things he can do,” he said. “Sitting up for the first time, feeling something for the first time, just the small things is what brings me joy.”

Community support

Kollin has had an array of visitors, from family and friends to football players from both the University of Utah and Brigham Young University.

Coaches and friends decided to retire his older brother Braydon Galland’s football jersey. Jodie said they wanted it to be a way for Braydon, who is currently serving a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Mozambique, to be there with Kollin.

The varsity players signed the front of the jersey and the freshman team signed the back.

Jodie Galland said Kollin “cried and cried” with gratitude.

As Kollin sat in his hospital bed, donning a Timpview High football shirt, Jodie Galland asked if he recalled a specific message on the jersey.

“Don’t let anyone tell you what you can and can’t do, you’ve got a great life ahead of you,” a teammate wrote.

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