Lacey Man Stays Determined To Fight Paralysis After CrashMatt Muckelston can't move most of his body after an off-road vehicle crash. But he isn't done fighting.
By Josh Bakan, Patch Staff
Aug 30, 2019 2:55 pm ET | Updated Aug 30, 2019 2:57 pm ET
Matt Muckelston, of Lacey, can't move most of his body after an off-road vehicle crash. But he isn't done fighting. (Image via YouTube)LACEY, NJ — When Matt Muckelston first awoke in the hospital, plenty felt impossible. He's been in there about 12 days and still can't move his legs or fingers.
Muckelston, of Lacey, suffered severe neck and spine injuries Aug. 18 when he lost control of his off-road vehicle. His Polaris RZR, a four-wheel vehicle with a roof but not walls or windows, went tumbling as he bounced around inside.
He works toward little victories that make him value what most take for granted. He scratched his nose for the first time since hospitalization.
Even from his bed, he does what some might find impossible: staying upbeat, thinking of others' happiness and making people laugh.
"I conquered it. I was able to itch my nose, and that was great," Muckelston said in a YouTube video, as BMX star Scotty Cramner laughed and smiled.
Cramner has plenty in common with Muckelston. Cramner, who went to Jackson Memorial High School, suffered an accident while riding his bike in October 2016. The action sports star caught the front of his wheel, which catapulted him into a face plant without time to get his hands in front of him.
Cramner suffered severe facial fractures, cerebral hermorrhage and damage to his C4 and C5 vertebra. Doctors initially didn't think he would walk walk again. But Cramner recovered and was able to bike.
The BMX rider visited Muckelston in the hospital to speak with him on video about recovery and publicize a GoFundMe raising money for Muckelston. The fundraiser supports his family and medical bills.
Like Cramner, Muckelston also injured his C4 and C5 vertebra. So not only does Cramner speak from experience, but he's impressed by Muckelston's sheer determination.
"I've always had a positive attitude on life and anything I wanted to do, I did," Muckelston said. "I want to get through this."
Muckelston can shrug his shoulders and move his arms, although he describes his arms as "a little floppy-doppy." Feeling is also returning to his chest.
But even his bodily sensations feel different. Muckelston said he feels pins and needles and fuzziness throughout. He endures mostly sleepless nights. He gets sensations he said people might never imagine unless they sustained a similar injury.
"It kind of feels like I get a drip down the back of my spine sometimes, like there's water running down my back, but there isn't," he said. "There's nothing there. It's just feelings that aren't even there."
Muckelston worries about his family more than anything. He doesn't have health insurance, so he worries about paying for his care.
But even his GoFundMe makes it evident that plenty of people care about Muckelston. The fundraiser has generated $24,961 from 534 donors as of Friday afternoon.
Cramner increased the GoFundMe's exposure to his more than 1.5 million YouTube followers. His video with Muckelston has over 100,000 views.
Plenty of donors have expressed support in the comments.
"Hope you get well soon. Thanks for being so strong," said Doug Aronoff. "Your spirit is helping me thru an injury too. Thanks. Wish you all the best. Stay strong, and positive."
"Hope this helps a little! Had a wreck of my own without insurance man, so I know the struggle," said Max Herrera. "Stay positive, I'll follow your journey and cheer ya on. Good luck man."
"I was involved in a snowmobile accident and had to be air lifted to Upstate hospital in Syracuse, NY," Kendra Soto wrote. "I personally know that medical bills are far from even being affordable. Me being in the hospital for 2 weeks I know what it feels like to not be yourself. You are in my prayers."