Miraculous Christmas milestone for injured Kuna football player

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by Karen Zatkulak

NWCN.com

Posted on December 26, 2013 at 7:12 PM

Updated Friday, Dec 27 at 4:03 PM

EAGLE -- Christmas Day brought a miraculous milestone for a Kuna High football player recovering from a serious spinal cord injury.

Junior Boone Bartlome was able to stand on his own, but just for a few moments.

Now, for the first time we're hearing from Bartlome and his parents via Skype. We talked with the family on Thursday from Kuna High Football Coach Lee Leslie's home in Eagle.

Bartlome says while he's improving, he's also spending about seven hours a day in therapy at Craig Hospital in Denver.

"Oh I'm doing good, doing therapies every day, just getting stronger" said Bartlome, who says the therapy can be difficult, but he's determined to get stronger.

"When I'm on a mat, they want me to use my elbows to get up, but I just can't move my arms hardly to get up on my elbows, so that's pretty difficult," said Bartlome.

Bartlome's parents, Shane and Diana, have been by his side every moment since the accident on November 8th.

"Every day is an emotional roller coaster," said Diana Bartlome. "For every little thing you do see, sometimes you feel like there are more steps back than forward, so every day there are ups and downs."

"I want things to change and and he wants things to change, so we stay excited about that and when things do change, I can't keep the tears back most of the time," said Shane Bartlome.

After partially severing his spinal cord in a high school football game, Bartlome is now fighting to move his arms, fingers, legs and toes.

"Just keep getting my legs stronger and stronger so I can try to take some steps," said Bartlome.

MIRACULOUS MILESTONE

On Christmas Eve, Bartlome surprised his family by standing for a few seconds for the first time since his injury.

"We're looking at Boone standing and we were shocked it was awesome," said Shane.

"Tears, happy tears, it was really cool, and very surprising, we weren't expecting it at all," said Diana.

Then, on Christmas Day, Bartlome amazed his coach by standing again while both were talking on Skype.

Coach Leslie says it was the best gift he received this holiday season.

"All of a sudden Boone goes 'Watch this' and bends down and is in a squat position and he stands up and there is no therapist in the room and i can't believe it right now," said Leslie.

OPTIMISTIC ATTITUDE

Bartlome is not just working hard physically, but has an unbelievable attitude about his condition and his recovery. He also has a wonderful sense of humor.

"It's been crazy, I still can't believe how it's just funny to me how I break my neck and have more friends than I've ever had in my life," said Bartlome who jokes "I get up and i don't do much, my parents have to help me get dressed and stuff, so I just kind of chill back, relax."

He says the key to his optimism is the encouragement he gets from other patients.

"It's pretty hard to not have a good attitude around here just because there are so many other patients we have met, that you just hang out all day and see them get better so it makes you happy," said Bartlome.

BARTLOME'S FUTURE

There is still a lot of uncertainty in terms of Bartlome's recovery, but his family says they're taking one day at a time. He's expected to be released from Craig Hospital on February 20th.

His coach says he will be planning a huge homecoming when he finally gets back to Idaho.

Bartlome himself is ready to be back home.

"I used to shake everyone's hand or give them a high five when I saw them, but I'm saying no more of that, I'm just giving hugs to everybody," said Bartlome.

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