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Maggie Hendricks

College wrestler paralyzed in March, walks at graduation in May

Dan Bishop was living the life of a normal, college student-athlete at the University of Buffalo. His wrestling season was nearing an end, and as a senior, he was looking ahead to a good-paying job in New York City.

But then disaster struck in March as Bishop wrestled in the 125-lb. semifinals in the Mid-America Conference championships. He fell on his head and suffered a spinal cord injury, and underwent emergency surgery. Doctors hoped that Bishop would be able to walk within a year.

Bishop surprised them by walking this past weekend at the Buffalo commencement.

"I said, 'I'm going to do it, you watch,'" Bishop said of walking at graduation. "I got rid of the walker and here we are."

Just a week and a half after Bishop's injury, his father posted a video of Bishop in a hospital bed, barely moving his legs. Just two months later, Bishop was able to walk because of intense physical therapy.

He still has a long way to go. He must continue to wear a neck brace and go to physical therapy, and there is still a concern about internal organ damage and strength on the right side of his body.

But that doesn't make his recovery any less remarkable, a fact that Bishop is keenly aware of. His career plans have changed as the injury caused him to reflect on his life. He now intends to work with high school students.

"Everywhere you look nowadays, you see the negative of people ... and to actually see the good side of people, it's life-changing," Bishop said. "It's beautiful. There's so much good in the world today, and a lot of it doesn't get exposed."

There are few people who can tell that story better than a man who could find a silver-lining out of a spinal cord injury.

Thanks to WIVB.

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