‘A miracle happened:’ NC State grad recovering after bike accident left him paralyzed
A former North Carolina State University athlete is recovering after a fall from his bike nearly killed him last month.
Phillip Hatcher and his wife, Kelly, share a love of outdoor adventure. He has always been a competitor and was a decathlete at North Carolina State University.
At 58 years old, Hatcher was still running and pedaling, until a terrible accident in June when he, his wife and a friend were mountain biking along Linville Gorge in the western part of the state.
“Hatch came around a blind corner and there was a tree blocking the path,” Hatcher’s wife, Kelly Hatcher, said.
Kelly Hatcher said her husband suffered a severe spinal cord injury and remains hospitalized in Asheville.
While their friend biked miles out of the woods to get help, Kelly Hatcher worked to keep her husband alive in the wilderness.
“For the first few minutes, it was really kind of touch and go. There were a couple other times I had to breathe for him and I told him ‘You have one job and this is to breathe, if you can’t breathe, I will breathe for you,’” she said.
Doctors said Phillip Hatcher’s injury was similar to Christopher Reeves’, and that he may never walk again, but Phillip Hatcher refused to accept that prognosis.
There has been slow progress, with movement in his hands and feet. Kelly Hatcher shares regular updates to an army of supporters online.
Donations and fundraisers are helping the couple get through, and Kelly Hatcher said prayers will get her husband back on his feel.
“I know a miracle happened with him there, and it happened right in front of me,” she said.
Kelly Hatcher said her husband began moving his fingers Monday, which is a big milestone for somebody with his type of injury. She said her husband still plans to get on a mountain bike again someday.