Travis Evans and family on Valentine's Day
A North Platte man, paralyzed in a freak accident at Lake McConaughy, is fighting to recover. An ambulance carried Travis Evans Tuesday from a hospital in Scottsbluff to Denver’s Craig hospital, where he will undergo physical therapy to restore the use of his hands and legs.
A benefit car wash will be held Saturday and Sunday, June 29-30, at Advance Auto, 1220 S. Jeffers in North Platte. The car wash will be from 9-5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. The cost is $3 a car. (These times were updated Wednesday evening.)
Evans, the father of two, was injured June 7 when he and his family were at Lake McConaughy with friends camping.
One of their friends was floating on an air mattress in shallow water and Evans decided to jump over her to splash her. He landed on his head on the other side of her in shallow water, a family member said.
Evans immediately complained of neck pain and said he was unable to feel or move his lower extremities. A medically trained friend held him still in the water until paramedics arrived. He was airlifted to Scottsbluff.
A CT scan showed that he had fractured his C6 vertebrae. An MRI showed his spinal cord was not severed, but compressed. A surgeon removed fragments from the broken vertebrae to release pressure on his spinal cord, and then used the fragments along with synthetic material to fuse his spine.
A plate was also put in place to further stabilize the spine.
Surgeons made it clear that his outcome is uncertain as no two spinal cord injuries are the same. They advised Evans and his family to be patient, as he has a long and rough recovery ahead. The injury was an extra blow to Evans, who lost his mother just a month earlier.
The good news is that his spinal cord was not severed, his wife said in a facebook post. In the first days after the accident he made significant improvement, regaining feeling in his hands and toes. However as of June 12 he could not use his hands. Evans celebrated his birthday that day.
“We thank you for all the support, calls, cards, messages, and kind words both after mom’s death and now,” his wife Teresa said. “It means so very much to all of us to know how many people care and are so willing to help!”
On June 15 she wrote: “He now has feeling in his feet and up his legs. He can tell us what toe we are touching without looking. This is an improvement from the "deep sensations" he was having just a couple days ago. The touch he can feel is just light. He cannot move his lower extremities but they have assured us that the feeling returns before any motor skills so we are hopeful.”
The facebook page is called “Prayers for Travis.” The family asks for prayers, good wishes to keep their spirits up, and donations.
A benefit account is set up at Nebraskaland National Bank to help with travel, food, lodging and other expenses.