Frightening moments when gymnast lands on his head
By John Shryock| February 12, 2011 at 12:12 AM CST - Updated June 23 at 9:45 AM
MIAMI (CNN) - A champion gymnast in Florida is on the road to recovery after a frightening fall that could have paralyzed him.
Jorge Valdes, 20, practiced a routine for tryouts for a show in Las Vegas when he had a close call with paralysis.
Valdes landed on his head, dislocated his neck and herniated his spinal cord.
"I was very scared. I was pretty sure I wasn't going to be able to walk at least for a while, "Valdes said. "I got lost in the air, and I landed directly on my head, and I just remembered feeling like fire."
This injury has left other gymnasts paralyzed, but Dr. Steven Vanni and a team of surgeons at University of Miami/ Jackson did not let that happen.
"He had this devastating injury, but we quickly realized what happened to him, and we literally raced into the operating room," Vanni said. "We were able to quickly decompress and realign his neck and at the same time initiate a hypothermia protocol."
One week later, Valdes was able to go home.
It's given me more hindsight, and helped me to open my eyes more that there's more to life," Valdes said.