STATEN ISLAND — A Staten Island teenager is defying the odds, walking again after a paralyzing accident in December.
Michael Wright returned to Staten Island University Hospital on Thursday to thank the medical team that performed his surgery and helped him recover.
"My faith has been strengthened by this whole thing," Wright told PIX11 News.
"This is truly a miracle, what we’re seeing today," explained Michael Cohen, the Trauma Program Manager at Staten Island University Hospital.
In December Wright was participating in a charity polar bear plunge when he broke his neck. His mom Melissa Wright was there. "I just saw his friend Joe pulling him out of the water and then from there it was like a blur," she said.
Two hours after Wright arrived at the hospital, Dr. Michael Chang began a delicate four-hour surgery on his spine.
"The prognosis usually is not good," Dr. Chang remembered, saying there was a 1% chance of a recovery like his.
Wright spent the last five months learning to walk again. "Rehab was very strenuous, I had to work very hard," he said Thursday.
In a few weeks Wright will graduate from high school. “I always knew I was going to walk across the stage to get that diploma somehow, but now that I’m actually going to be walking across to get it, it's a really good feeling," he said.