HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- A traumatic spine injury has forced a Houston surgeon to understand the plight of his patients in a way he never could before.
Nationally recognized spinal surgeon Dr. Rex Marco was riding his bike at Memorial Park In July 2019. His tire got stuck, he flipped over the handlebars and landed on his head.
"I knew that I might be paralyzed and it's possible that I might recover function, but it's also possible that I might not," Dr. Marco said at his physical therapy appointment. "I wasn't happy about it, but I knew that I would be OK."
He instructed people at the park that day on specific ways to mobilize his body so that it would not make his injury worse.
Dr. Marco recalled not being able to feel people touching him and his body not moving.
Even after surgery, the surgeon is a quadriplegic.
"I thought I could empathize with my patients, but I couldn't really," he said. "It wasn't me."
He attends physical therapy four times a week and makes it a point to remain positive despite his circumstances.
Often times, Dr. Marco rehabs next to patients of his that he operated on years ago. He said they are an inspiration to him.
"I have seen what they are able to do in their recovery," Dr. Marco said.
His road to recovery is long, but he is eager to get back into a routine. Dr. Marco looks forward to getting back to work and eventually participating in sports.
A GoFundMe page for the surgeon has raised more than $90,000 in the six months since his accident.
Family and friends are holding a fundraiser on Tuesday, Feb. 25 to raise additional funds for his ongoing needs that are not covered by insurance.
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Bike accident leaves nationally recognized surgeon a quadriplegic