27.05.

1995: Christopher Reeve Paralyzed after Falling off a Horse

1995: Christopher Reeve Paralyzed after Falling off a Horse
Photo Credit To Wikipedia Commons / Christopher Reeve, Frank Gifford, Ronald Reagan at a reception and picnic in honor of the 15th anniversary of the Special Olympics program in the Diplomatic Reception room May 1983

Story Highlights

  • Historical event
  • 27 May 1995
  • His horse suddenly stopped in front of a fence and Reeve was thrown from the saddle. He flew over the horse's head and landed headfirst on the ground. The helmet prevented brain injury, but the impact of Reeve’s 98-kg body (he was 193 cm tall) shattered his first and second vertebrae and severed his spinal cord.

On this day in 1995, American actor Christopher Reeve suffered one of the most terrible accidents that can befall a person.

Specifically, after falling from a horse he suffered a cervical spinal injury that paralyzed him from the neck down.

This condition is called tetraplegia, also known as quadriplegia, and is characterized by the loss of sensation and the ability to move all the muscles below the point of the injury.

Since the lungs are also driven by muscular action, Reeve could not even breathe without breathing apparatus. Just to note, Reeve began riding during the filming of Anna Karenina. He soon started competing, bought a horse named Eastern Express and nicknamed him “Buck”.

On this day, Reeve rode Buck at an equestrian competition in Virginia. His horse suddenly stopped in front of a fence and Reeve was thrown from the saddle.

He flew over the horse’s head and landed headfirst on the ground. The helmet prevented brain injury, but the impact of Reeve’s 98-kg body (he was 193 cm tall) shattered his first and second vertebrae and severed his spinal cord.

The injury was so severe that doctors later had to insert a titanium pin to reattach Reeve’s skull to his spine. When he realized what had happened, Reeve thought of suicide for a while, but after his wife gave him her undying support, he did not have such thoughts again.

In one difficult moment, a doctor with a Russian accent hurried into his hospital room and announced that he would perform a rectal exam on him. He was the comedian Robin Williams, in the guise of his character from the comedy “Nine months”.

It was reportedly the first time that Reeve laughed after the accident. He exercised persistently and eventually managed to move one finger, which doctors saw as a kind of miracle. He died nine-and-a-half years after the accident, probably from a reaction to the antibiotic given to him for the treatment of sepsis.

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