Speed Reads

a graduation to remember

Paralyzed former football player surprises family by walking at his college graduation

Corey Borner promised his friends and family a surprise at his college graduation, and he delivered. 

The 28-year-old Texan was a high school football player, and in 2009, during a routine tackle, he suffered a spinal cord injury that left him paralyzed. Since then, Borner has used a wheelchair. He decided to "make the best of it," he told WFAA, and became a motivational speaker, sharing his story with students and encouraging them to face their challenges head on. "You just got to be thankful because it's a blessing to be alive and still be here," he said.

Borner studied communications at the University of North Texas at Dallas, and came up with an idea to make his graduation on Saturday even more of a big deal: He wanted to walk across the stage to collect his diploma. A team from the Baylor Scott & White Institute for Rehabilitation outfitted him with a robotic exoskeleton suit, and after practicing in secret, he shocked his family and friends during the ceremony by walking for the first time since his injury. It felt "amazing" he told WFAA, and he hopes others in similar situations "just stay encouraged. Tough times don't last long, tough people do."