Napa Teen Returns Home Following Recovery from Spinal Cord Injury

In a tragic turn of events, 15-year-old Blake Mendenhall from Napa has been left partially paralyzed after a severe snowboarding mishap at Northstar resort in Truckee, California. The accident occurred less than four months ago when Blake lost control and collided with a tree while enjoying a day on the slopes with friends.

Immediately after the incident, ski patrol responded swiftly, transporting Blake down the mountain in a sled to where a helicopter awaited to airlift him to Renown Children’s Hospital in Reno. Blake underwent a grueling seven-hour surgery to realign his spine, which had been fractured in two places, and required bolts and screws to be implanted as a means of stabilization.

Spending over two weeks in the ICU, Blake faced a daunting reality: paralysis from mid-chest downward, confining him to a wheelchair with no walking capability. His resilience was apparent even from his hospital bed in Reno, as he promised to “never give up” in a video taken during his hospitalization.

Following a time of acute care, Blake continued his journey at Craig Rehabilitation Hospital near Denver, where he endured a 60-day program focusing on adapting to life after a spinal injury. Throughout this recovery period, his Napa home underwent necessary renovations, thanks to the selfless work of volunteers and local construction teams who remodeled his residence to be wheelchair-accessible, at no cost to the Mendenhall family.

Source: Napa Valley Register

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