After a three and a half hour surgery and a four week recovery Joseph Ross, assistant football coach and science teacher, is learning to walk again.

An accident on the field turned into a larger affair as Ross dealt with increasingly intense back pains. Initially the doctors thought it was just a strain but it was confirmed to be something worse when Ross collapsed in his own home. After his collapse he was brought to St. Joseph’s hospital. There they performed a laminectomy on his spine, as the injury had twisted his back, before he was sent to Florida Hospital, as St. Joseph’s didn’t have the resources for recovery. Ross was paralyzed in the legs so in order to fully recover he has to learn to walk again and he is currently on his eighth week. However Ross is beginning to remember.

“Anytime nerves are involved it can go any number of ways. Prior to the surgery I could not use my legs now I can walk in a walker, I’m a little bit more mobile it’s not 100 percent but it will be,” said Ross.

During a laminectomy surgeons remove the lamina that covers the back part of your spine in order to enlarge the spinal canal. By enlarging the canal, pressure previously on the spine and nerves is alleviated. Before the surgery eating and drinking may be limited before anesthesia is used to keep patients under. The surgery may have different parts and circumstances based on the situation, if one vertebrate has slipped over another then spinal fusion is used which connects vertebrate together using screws, rods, or bone grafts; in other cases a herniated disk may be removed in the process as well. Depending on the vigor of activity that a patient returns too will determine how long the recovery period is. A doctor may recommend a laminectomy for a number of reasons but in Ross’s case it was most likely muscle pains that make walking and even standing difficult. Ross gives advice to all his players in that if they are injured to see a professional and follow their instructions to the letter.

“I had what is called a laminectomy in the thoracic area t5 to t11 and I have four screws and two rods… and I’m in the process of learning how to walk again,” says Ross. Ross struggles with learning to walk again as he misses lifting weights, and even basic tasks like pushing a cart in a grocery store have become a challenge, but he expects to make a full recovery and is emphatic about remaining an assistant football coach for Steinbrenner. He’s taken away a lot from his struggle and his logic could be applied to any injury.

“The one thing I have taken away from this is never take anything for granted in your life,” says Coach Ross.
In order to help him walk again teachers and students of Steinbrenner have been very supportive, some just wanting to check in, others worried about his condition, and some, according to Ross, glad it didn’t happen to them. Either way the support of Steinbrenner has helped Ross tremendously in terms of recovery and motivation. However what Ross will hold forever is a folder of personal letters.

“When I was in the hospital I got a…folder with a bunch of personal letters which was extremely moving. It’s nice to know that people care…I will save that little folder forever,” said Ross.

The support of its teachers is something Steinbrenner holds dear and its students and athletes do as well, and their speedy recovery is the hope of the student body. So although Ross has to learn to walk again at least he knows that Steinbrenner will walk with him every step of the way, whether it’s in a hospital bed, in a wheelchair, or with his own two feet.


BY: Logan Conrad / Chief Copy Editor

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