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Middletown man details yearlong road to recovery following fall from roof

Imagine a 3% chance of ever walking again - and then a pair of magic hands changes everything. Emily Young shares the story of a Middletown man who fell off his roof and how he overcame his spinal cord injury.

Emily Young

Dec 20, 2023, 10:34 PM

Updated 200 days ago


Imagine a 3% chance of ever walking again - and then a pair of magic hands changes everything. 
Michael Dennedy, of Middletown, says he's in the best shape of his life. Just looking at him, you would never know that the 41-year-old fell off his roof last year.
"I think he probably had a single-digit chance of ever walking again, and that's walking with some sort of assisted device," said his spinal surgeon, Dr. John Wainright.
"Last Christmas, I slipped, I landed on the ground. It was totally frozen and from that point on, I couldn't move. I fell backward and I couldn't move my legs," recalls Dennedy.
He had sustained a motor complete spinal cord injury.
"Basically the bone in his spine shattered, like if you drop a China plate in your house, it shatters and explodes, and it pushed back and pinched his spinal cord," explains Wainright.
Dennedy was helicoptered to Westchester Medical Center in Valhalla.
"The only thing that really matters in recovery for a patient like him is how quickly you can get them to the operating room. The earlier you can get someone decompressed and stabilized, the more spinal cord you preserve," says Wainright.
It took a six-hour surgery, eight titanium screws, two titanium rods and a whole lot of inpatient and outpatient therapy, but Dennedy was slowly able to walk with crutches, then a walker - and he was walking completely unassisted by April.
On Wednesday, he showed thanks to the staff at Westchester Medical Center, who he says kept his mind strong and his body moving. He was reunited with the team that put him back together again - almost a year to the day he'll never forget.
"The professionals in the ICU recovery unit there, as far as the nurses and all the staff, were extremely helpful. Very motivational, very encouraging," he said. 

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