A 16-Year-Old Equestrian Once Made a Miraculous Recovery by Overcoming Terrifying Spine Injury

Published 03/18/2023, 4:36 PM EDT

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Equestrian injuries are a common risk that every rider signs up for. Just look at Jonathon Millar, the 48-year-old Canadian equestrian who suffered a head injury and underwent brain surgery. From minor to extremely severe, these injuries also sometimes determine the fate of the rider. However, how those injuries occur is a thing to reckon with. While most have a great fall, and others get hit on by a horse, Alexis Halbert suffered a different manner of injury. Her own horse fell on top of her and immediately immobilized the 16-year-old girl. Two rods, eight screws, and a broken back later, this is how Halbert overcame her struggle.

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Alexis Halbert and her dear horse Charisma were at the Tryon International Equestrian Center on July 18, 2020. A freak accident at this center in Mills Spring, North Carolina, would not only affect Halbert’e life but also prove fatal for her horse Charisma.

Alexis Halbert and her fight against the jaws of death

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During the race, Charisma’s legs got tangled in a rail and she fell. But as she fell, her neck bent and broke on the impact, which immediately killed her. However, Charisma landed on top of Halbert and this severely hurt her too. A sudden sensation of numbness from below her belly engulfed Halbert. She was unconscious. But after she woke, her scream of anguish echoed loud and far.

 

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Two of her vertebrae, T6 and T7, were fractured, and she spent 11 days in the pediatric intensive care unit. Halbert’s spinal cord was broken and the proof of it is still visible between her shoulder blades, where a 6-inch scar runs down vertically. Dr. Eric Lenehan, an orthopedic spine surgeon performed her surgery to repair her vertebrae. They also put two rods and eight screws in her broken back where the scar remains.

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After a year of healing from the injury, followed by an 82-day rehabilitation stint at Shepherd Center in Atlanta later, Halbert was back on her feet. As she took her first steps since the accident, in a Florida Today news, surgeon Dr. Lenehan called it, “a miraculous recovery”.

Halbert is just grateful for living again

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About her long journey of recovery, Halbert said, “I don’t know how it’s been a year already. Being in Shepherd seems like it was years ago — but my accident seems like it was yesterday”. Halbert also reminisced about the time she dreamed big about being a big rider, a varsity goalkeeper, etc. But all those seem like a distant dream to her now.

 

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One bright aspect has been that Halbert’s parents have been by her side throughout this whole ordeal. Her mother Liz Halbert still believes that there is a slight problem with her daughter’s gait. But putting all these things aside, Halbert is well and walking now. And who knows, she is all but 16 years old. With all her life ahead of her, halbert might as well ride again and be a varsity goalkeeper.

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Written by:

Tanmay Roy

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Tanmay Roy is a US Sports author for EssentiallySports. He has done MBA and B.Tech in Civil Engineering.
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Edited by:

Anupama Ghosh

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