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University of Louisville

Paralyzed Boca Raton surfer is 'ambassador' for Red Bull run

Paralyzed Boca Raton surfer is 'ambassador' for Red Bull run

Three years ago, spinal cord research in Kentucky was the farthest thing from Brooke Thabit's mind. But on Labor Day 2012, she dove from a Jupiter dock into shallow water and crushed the C-4 and C-5 vertebrae, leaving her paralyzed.

That's "paralyzed," not "paralyzed for life," Thabit says, because medical advancements are helping people like her improve their general health, stand up and even walk. The procedure that most excites her is called epidural stimulation, in which doctors insert a device about the size of a cell phone that helps the brain bypass the injured portion of the spinal column. In 2103, all four patients in a test study in Louisville, each...