Football player optimistic after injury

October 26, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
Wali Wright cannot remember the day in September or the one play that changed his life.

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"When I woke up, I don't know what happened or nothing, I just knew I was at the hospital and I was critically hurt," Wright said.

Wright, 25, was playing safety for the Contra Costa College football team when he hit an opposing player and slumped to the ground. His neck was broken in two places.

"Why, why me, why'd it have to happen to me; I went to all my classes, I was never late to class, always on time for everything, why," he said.

At first, Wright had no feeling below his neck, but now he is slowly regaining some sensation in his shoulders, abdomen and hands. Still, the future is uncertain.

"As he emerges out of this spinal shock phase, we will be able to have a better idea of exactly how far he'll progress, but the typical recovery for something like this is minimum six months, usually 12 months, sometimes up to 24 months," Wright's physician, Dr. Alex Barchuk, said.

Piola Wright flies up every other week from Pasadena to be with her son.

"He keeps coming back around, he's getting better," she said.

While Wright is certainly encouraged by the progress he has made in Kentfield, he is anxious to move to a facility closer to his family home in Southern California.

"Hopefully I can get by my family, hopefully they can take care of me, then I can get visits and see people that I love," Wright said.

The family is waiting for a bed to open up at a rehab facility in Oxnard. Beyond that, Wright hopes to gradually regain his mobility, move on with his life and finish his education.

"I want to continue school, that's the most important thing, is school, for me," Wright said. "I want to go back to school, I wish I could read my books, I got all new books, I want to go back to school and continue reading."

The Contra Costa College Foundation has set up a trust fund to help Wali Wright's family with expenses and travel from Southern California to be with Wali

Donations can be made to:
The Wali Wright Medical Fund
c/o: CCC Foundation
P.O. Box 6305
Richmond, CA 94806

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