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Thomas Paralyzed From Waist Down

January 24, 2000

LIBERTY, Mo. (AP) _ NFL star Derrick Thomas was paralyzed from the waist down following a car crash that broke his neck and killed a friend.

Thomas has use of his upper body and it was not clear whether he will regain use of his legs, the Kansas City Chiefs said today.

The nine-time Pro Bowl linebacker will be transferred to a hospital in his hometown of Miami, said Dr. Jon Browne, the team physician.

``It takes time to check these things out,″ Browne said. ``Improvement can come slowly or in rapid bursts.″

The 33-year-old Thomas and two companions were heading to the Kansas City airport at the time of the accident. They were planning to fly to St. Louis for the NFC Championship game when their car flipped on an icy road Sunday afternoon.

Thomas and the man who was killed were thrown from the car. The third man was treated at a hospital and released.

The dead man was identified as Michael Tellis, 49, of Kansas City, Kan. He is a close friend of Thomas who helped the player set up such projects as a charity golf tournament that had become an annual event in Kansas City.

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