A dirt bike accident in June nearly left 21-year-old Josh Cooper in a wheelchair for the rest of his life but the El Dorado Hills resident credits his family and friends for his speedy recovery.
“I’m about 80 percent recovered,” Cooper said a little more than two months after he flew off his dirt bike.
Cooper and his friends were riding in Somerset in late June when he lost control of his 2002 V250F dirt bike.
“I didn’t know what to think,” Cooper said. “I could barely breathe. I can’t remember anything … but [according to my friends] I went through a mud puddle.”
After lying on the ground in pain for about five minutes, Cooper said friends came to his aid and called an ambulance. Both the California Highway Patrol and Calstar helicopters responded and the injured rider was flown to Sutter Roseville, where doctors told Cooper he had three broken vertebrae in his neck and back and a “big” piece of bone was chipped off his back. Cooper was also told he would be quadriplegic, He recalled, unable to use arms and legs.
“I didn’t know what to think then,” Cooper said. “It was scary.”
Cooper fought back. After surgery, one week in ICU/trauma and a two-week stay in rehab, the 2009 Oak Ridge graduate started walking.
“It was really hard to do but it felt really good,” Cooper explains. “I wanted to show the ER doctor [that I could do it.]”
Cooper said he always held on to hope that he would recover, but he’s not quite 100 percent yet. He expects to work hard for about five more months in physical therapy to get back to full strength. He adds that he will not be able to work for at least another six months.
“It’s going to be a while,” Cooper explained. “I want to make sure the recovery is complete. I [still] don’t have great feeling in my left hand …. I don’t want to risk it.”
Cooper said the accident that nearly left him in a wheelchair changed his perspective “a little bit.”
When asked about hopping back on that dirt bike, he said, It’s hard to say. Probably later, sometime down the road.”