College basketball player told he would never walk again beats the odds

BROCKTON, Mass. — The passenger in a horrifying crash in Brockton last summer was told he would never walk again.

But the college basketball player used the same determination he learned on the court to attack his greatest challenge yet.

“I tried to get up. I couldn’t move anything,” said accident victim Anthony Hodges.

Hodges knows he should have never gotten into the passenger seat with his friend last July. It was his friend’s birthday, and police say he had been drinking.

“We went over a curb and boom, I instantly hopped up. I was looking at a pole coming straight. I couldn’t even brace myself,” said Hodges.

He was thrown from the vehicle.

“I thought I was still in the car trying to crawl, but I really wasn’t moving, it was just like my shoulders,” Hodges told FOX25.

That’s when he realized his arms and legs had stopped working. He was rushed to Brigham and Women’s, where he learned devastating news.

“They broke it down to me saying I wasn’t going to be able to walk,” he said.

The timing was even more devastating because Hodges had just been named captain of the Salem State Men’s Basketball Team.

“I was just used to being an athlete, being all over the place and now I can’t use my legs. I just broke down,” he said.

Neurosurgeon Dr. Yi Lu was called in to perform emergency surgery on Hodges.

“We’ll try to give him the best chance, but I was really not optimistic,” said Lu.

Hodges vertebrae were pressing on his spinal cord, so a vertebra in his neck was replaced with a titanium cage. Two others were fused together. But even so, the odds were beyond dismal. Lu told Hodges he had as low as a zero percent chance of overcoming paralysis.

But Hodges and his team at Spaulding Rehab fought for it. From sitting up to a wheelchair, to a walker, to holding onto a wall, soon he was going to the gym everyday on top of his physical therapy.

Three months later, he brought tears to his doctor’s eyes.

“He walked into my clinic,” Lu said.

Not only can Hodges now walk, he can jog and run drills. He can even make a three pointer. The next stop for him is getting back on the Salem State team – that’s his new goal.

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