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Victim Who 'Never Gave Up' Walks Out Of Hospital Following Spinal Reconstruction

By Makenzie O'Keefe

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (CBS4) - Sami Bayless was able to walk out of a medical facility in Colorado after she was in a terrible car accident six months ago that left her paralyzed from the waist down. In early June 2018, the 18-year-old was driving to horse stables for work near Lockwood, Missouri. She was in a head-on collision that severely injured her spine and left her paralyzed.

Sami Bayless
Sami Bayless (credit: CBS)

Bayless says she doesn't remember the accident but she remembers waking up at Craig Hospital in Englewood.

"I'm glad I don't remember the crash," she said. "It was a really bad thing."

Sami Bayless (credit: CBS)

Bayless said she moved over to Swedish Hospital and underwent spinal reconstruction. She worked to overcame numerous roadblocks, such as a bad bone infection. But the entire time she kept one goal in mind: to be able to walk again and one day ride her horse.

"I knew I had to walk again. I had big plans. I had to walk, I didn't have time for this," Bayless laughed. "It gave me patience but I never gave up hope on walking. In my mind I had to, I didn't have an option."

Bayless was then moved back to Craig Hospital where she spent months in rehab, trying to build her strength back. She knew she was at a turning point the first time she was able to stand up.

"It was the hardest thing I've ever done," she explained. "I didn't remember standing up to be so hard. It is something you take for granted everyday. And for me, it was taken from me in a split second."

sami bayless
Sami Bayless (credit: CBS)

Her medical team said it was her positive attitude and upbeat personality that helped her to overcome her injuries.

"It was very disheartening to watch a young girl not being able to walk again," explained Terencio Franco-Neto, a clinical nurse in the Spine Unit. "It was a risk with her wounds but what I believe saved her was her attitude, support system and being at the right place."

Sami Bayless
Sami Bayless (credit: CBS)

Bayless said the first thing she plans to do when she gets home will be to stand up and pet her horse.

"I will cry like a baby, I didn't think I would be able to do that again," she said. "All I can say to all the staff at Swedish and Craig is thank you a million times over."

Makenzie O'Keefe joined the CBS4 team as a reporter in 2017. Read her bio, connect with her on Facebook, follow her on Twitter at @makenziepokeefe or email her your story ideas.

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