‘Walking quadriplegic’ talks about adversity

Jul 10 2012 - 7:28am

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Dr. Dale Hull is the executive director for Neuroworx, a nonprofit that specializes in helping people with spinal cord injuries. (NICK SHORT/Standard-Examiner) photo taken Monday, July 2, 2012 in South Jordan, Utah.
Dr. Dale Hull is the executive director for Neuroworx, a nonprofit that specializes in helping people with spinal cord injuries. (NICK SHORT/Standard-Examiner) photo taken Monday, July 2, 2012 in South Jordan, Utah.

ROY -- One sure topic of conversation at the upcoming reunion of the Roy High Class of 1972 will be the challenges classmates have faced in their lives.

That topic is a familiar one for class president Dale Hull.

"All those things give your life perspective," Hull said. "Even though I've gone through some hard things, I still look at others and say, 'Wow.' "

A medical doctor who now runs a nonprofit agency, Hull has overcome a major challenge in his life. In a trampoline accident 13 years ago, the South Jordan resident dislocated his neck and became paralyzed from the neck down.

In an instant, he became a quadriplegic and could no longer practice as a gynecologist.

But thanks to modern rehabilitation techniques and his sheer determination, Hull has regained the use of much of his body.

"What it has helped me to appreciate is the adversity everyone has to go through," he said. "It's never what you would expect in your life."

Today, Hull walks with a cane and is considered a walking quadriplegic.

And although he has not regained his normal bowel and bladder functions, Hull considers his life today a miracle. He wants to pass that miracle on to others.

For eight years, Hull has been a partner in Neuroworx. The clinic is a South Jordan nonprofit agency that, he said, can go above and beyond the scope of typical insurance coverage to maximize the recovery of those with spinal cord and traumatic brain injuries.

The chance to extend his experiences to others gives his life meaning, he said.

"The journey has been so valuable," he said, noting that he wouldn't go back and change his life if he had to give up what he's learned in the last 13 years.

"Every day I miss my body," he said. "But there are things I've learned that have helped me gain a new insight and become a richer person. I couldn't give those up."

Hull said he's excited for the chance to see that same growth in others at the upcoming reunion.

"You see what other people have accomplished," he said. "People have done OK."

Hull is excited about the way his class has stayed together and said that sense of community has added to the lives of individual class members.

"There is a good group of people who want to stay in communication with each other and who care about each other," he said. "That caring and communication makes the world go around."

One unusual thing about that class, Hull said, is the number of people who have died. Already 42 -- 10 percent of the class -- are gone.

He said thinking of those numbers makes him realize how life can change in a second.

"Certainly my life changed in a second," he said.

The reunion is this Friday and Saturday.

For more information about the reunion, visit classcreator.com/Roy-Utah-1972/ or email royhigh72@gmail.com.

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