‘Find a Way', Former DeSoto High School Football Player Takes First Steps After Years of Paralysis

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It’s been twelve years since former DeSoto football player Corey Borner became paralyzed during spring practice. Yet, somehow, he always knew he’d walk again. And he did just that this week.

Corey Borner remembers how that day in 2009 started. He was on his way to school.

“It was a regular day. I was headed to the bus stop. I had to come back home because I left something in here,” he said.

He got what he needed and ran out of the house, with his mom strongly suggesting he’d better make the bus.

“You miss that bus I’m not taking you to school,” Borner recalled his mother saying. “That was her last time seeing me walk. That was her last time seeing me on my feet.”

That was until this week. Twelve years after the life-changing moment in 2009, Borner took his first steps. His mother, Charlotte Borner, right where she’s always been cheering him on.

To understand the triumph, you must understand the journey. His paralysis happened during spring football practice at Desoto High School. Borner went for a tackle and didn’t get up.

“Twelve years since you haven’t taken a step. That’s a long time,” he said.

He said it took about a year to come to grips with his new reality. Then one day he said a prayer under the tree in his front yard.

“God football is over with,” he said. “What’s next? What’s my plan B? What you have for me planned next?”

His path has been crystal clear since then. From that point on, Borner said he knew his mission was to share his story as a motivational speaker.

“Regardless of how hard it gets, we’re going to find a way,” he said.

And he did find a way, taking more than 500 steps with the help of an Esko Bionics machine this week. It's wearable technology that helps patients regain mobility.

“I kind of got emotional and I just kept looking down at my feet. I’m ready to get back in it. I’m ready to stand in it longer,” said Borner. “I took 520 steps so now I’m going to try my best to at least go for 700.”

So, what’s the secret behind his motivation and optimism? What propels his ability to find a way?

“Do right by people, talk to people right, treat people right, God’s going bless you,” said Borner. “He ain't got no choice but to bless you.”

Borner took those steps at Baylor Scott & White Institute for Rehabilitation Center.

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