NEDERLAND, Colo. -- From Homecoming King to fighting for his life two nights later, a Nederland high school senior is making a dramatic comeback.
Miles Pancoast suffered a severe spinal cord injury in a car accident on Oct. 13, 2014. He lost control of his car on a highway near his home. Miles said, “We came around the corner, we were on the straight away when the steering box in my truck broke. We went off the road and flipped end over end. I was ejected flew between 40 and 60 feet. I remember hitting the windshield and going out and landing on my shoulder.” He could not feel anything below his neck. He spent 10 days in the intensive care unit. Doctors told him he would never walk again.
You can’t tell that to an active high school senior who plays football and basketball and loves the outdoors. Miles was taken to Craig Hospital shortly after his accident. He said, “I give it everything I got all day. I definitely do everything they ask. Whatever they want me to do is hard. I do it because I want to get the maximum recovery I can and get the most out of being here.” He sees it as an opportunity, even though the days are long and sometimes difficult. He knows the first two years are critical to rehabilitation for spinal cord injury patients.
His mom, Bee Brogan, has been by his side through it all. She said, “He’s always been a problem solver. He wants to figure things out and accomplish things. As a mom, I feel his pain. My heart aches when I see him struggle to do simple things like breathing and eating. Watching him struggle is really difficult.” In case he needs anything he sleeps in a chair by his bed. She said, “I like to be there just in case he needs to scratch his cheek.”
Craig Hospital includes patient's families in everything. Bee said, “They get you involved - which is important, because soon we will be going home. He’s 6 feet three inches tall and I am just over 5 feet tall. They show you how to do it, how safely to do it. It’s such an amazing place to be. I feel so blessed we are here. People come from all over. Staff members don't treat you like patients, they treat you like family.
Therapists and staff members do their best to get patients ready to go home. For Miles it includes keeping up on school work. He is looking forward to going back to school next month when he is released from Craig, returning home to a community that has been so supportive. Miles said, “It blows me away. People I’ve never even talked to in my town are doing what they can.” His coaches have continued to coach him through his rehab. Bee said, "The first day Miles was put in a wheelchair was scary. I could see the fear on his face. His coach was there, coaching him the whole way through. Just to have that he was not as scared.”
Miles said, “It’s hard for me to see my family have to do so much more for me than they did before. I know it doesn’t bug them, they want to take care of me, but it’s hard.” His family would have it no other way. His mom said, “I’m very hopeful. I’m a believer. I believe in him.”
They have every reason to be hopeful. Miles said, “When I first got here, all I had was biceps and shoulders. I am starting to be able to close my fingers a little bit. If I’m laying flat I can lift my leg up now and start wiggling my toes. I’m pretty hopeful. I don’t know how long it will be, but I think I’ll walk again.”
Miles is planning to go to college next year to major in wildlife management and would love to work for the division of wildlife.
If you’d like to find out how you can help him: https://www.giveforward.com/fundraiser/zm46
For more information about Craig Hospital: http://craighospital.org/