Washington gymnast left paralyzed from chest down after dismount fall

Cameron Smith
Prep Rally

A Washington state teenager is in critical condition and is feared to face a future paralyzed from the chest down after falling on a dismount off the uneven bars.

As reported by the Seattle Times, 15-year-old Puyallup, Wash., student Jacoby Miles was injured while attempting a double back dismount off the uneven bars during a practice at Roach Gymnastics in Sumner. Miles, a Level 9 gymnast, had reportedly successfully completed the routine numerous times before suffering the injury.

Puyallup teenager Jacoby Miles, who was paralyzed in a gymnastics fall — Miles Family photo
Puyallup teenager Jacoby Miles, who was paralyzed in a gymnastics fall — Miles Family photo

"[The double back dismount was a] routine move, a skill she's been doing three or four years. She's done it successfully a thousand times," Melanie Roach, the coach at Roach Gymnastics, told the Times.

"As owner of the gym, I will dedicate every resource I have, every contact I've had, for raising enough money so Jacoby is cared for for the rest of her life."

Roach, a former Olympic weightlifter, has announced she will donate 100 percent of the proceeds from her a new book about her life and rise to the Olympics to Miles' recovery effort.

For Miles, the recovery will be long and arduous, but not necessarily impossible. The teen underwent successful surgery over six hours to repair the spinal injury she suffered in the fall and has since been been able to do bicep curls and shrug her shoulders. Her family said that it was making a concerted effort to lift her spirits amidst her physical struggles.

"It's really hard on her being so dependent," Jason Miles, the teen's father, told the Times. "That's really what she got joy from, helping others. We're trying to help her understand God can use her through this to help a lot of people. We'll take it one day at a time and work through this."

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