VILLAGE OF OAK CREEK -- Kenny Roser just turned 30. For a guy who describes himself as "very active, outside every day," Roser today is in something of a cage, trapped in his own body.
Since this summer, his movement has been slowed to a crawl; he has become a quadriplegic. He has little to no intentional movement from the neck down.
Kenny was on vacation in mid-July and at a California beach with his wife, Nichol, and two pretty young daughters. They were about to return to the hotel when Kenny told Nichol, "I will be back in a minute."
He dove into a three-foot wave to get the sand off. He struck a rock and broke his neck and was instantly paralyzed.
"I could see my hand moving but my entire body went limp. Nichol saw me in the water and called for the lifeguards and then everything went black.
"They said I was dead, my lungs filled with water and they had to shock me back to life."
"They pumped more water out of my lungs at the hospital. I had taken in so much water, they worried my lungs would collapse.
"I lost all movement. I could move my lips; I couldn't feel my arms."
Roser was first taken to a hospital in Long Beach and then transferred to the Kachina Point Rehabilitation Clinic in the Village of Oak Creek. He is now in a facility in Prescott Valley near his Prescott home.
"In Long Beach, I was in the hospital for two weeks and they would move my hands and arms and legs. They would ask me questions every day to see how much I remembered."
Roser had fractured two vertebrae and broken a third that had to be replaced. To work on the vertebrae surgeons made an incision through his throat to access C-4, C-5 and C-6. He wore a neck brace for two months. But the surgery did not affect his voice and he can still talk, and even sing.
"I can't feel down to my feet. If someone touches my leg, I can feel the heat of their hand inside."
Nichol was warned that Kenny, having gotten water in his lungs and lost consciousness, may not be able to breath on his own or may have lost some mental capability.
He couldn't move, but his attitude was what impressed doctors and nurses. Ryan Stienem, a male nurse at Kachina Point, said for a guy so seriously debilitated, he has a remarkably positive point of view and his outlook is very bright.
Feeling and some movement are slowly returning, but it will be a long process with a lot of therapy. Alica Mena, an occupational therapist at Kachina Point, worked with him regularly to get movement back in his fingers. But it all takes thousands of repetitions.
He was fitted with compression stockings after he suffered a blood clot in his legs from lack of movement.
He is now able to hold his arms up to feed himself and brush his teeth.
The family has organized several fundraisers to generate money for the lengthy rehab and therapy and to build ramps and other handicapped features in the Roser house to make it wheel chair accessible.
The Roser Family Benefit Golf Tournament Scramble was held at the Prescott Golf and Country Club.
On Nov. 9, at the Final Score Sports Bar Commerce Drive in Prescott, another raffle on is scheduled. Among the premier raffle prizes is a football signed by Notre Dame Heisman Trophy winner John Huarte.
Direct contributions can be made to the Roser Family Fund at County Bank. For information call Karen Thompson at (928) 778-6407 or Lisa Sullivan at 499-7719.
Posted: Tuesday, October 29, 2013
Article comment by:
Hang in there Kenny. I did a similar thing when I was 18 , 40 years ago. Baby Steps... Good luck my Friend..
Posted: Monday, October 28, 2013
Article comment by:
I broke my neck at the age of 21 in an almost identical situation. I was very lucky. It sounds like you have the heart of a lion, Kenny. Hang tough and never stop fighting. With your attitude and the love of your wife, you'll be back!