Greg Traynor – Paralyzed But Ready to Get Back as Much Function as Possible

Greg Traynor loves the outdoors

Greg Traynor loves the outdoors

Editor’s Note: Greg Traynor, his girlfriend and one of his best buddies had decided to get out of the warmth and comfort of the hot tub on his patio on February 20, 1999, and walk down to a lake not far from his home near Wareham, Mass.. He waded out into the waist deep water and dove down to get totally submerged. Then he planned to return to his hot tub with his friends. But when he dove in, he broke his neck. Part 2 of a 5 part series.

“I knew immediately that I’d broken my neck, because I couldn’t move,” Traynor remembers. My buddy Matt came over to get me and dragged me to the shore. I realized when I got to shore that I was badly injured, since I couldn’t feel my body from my shoulders down. After Matt got me to the shore, he ran up to my house and called for an ambulance. The paramedics stabilized me and put me in the ambulance to wait for a Life Flight helicopter to land. After being loaded into the helicopter, I was flown to Bringham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, MA. When I arrived in the emergency room, the doctors asked what happened. I explained that I’d been injured in a diving accident, and I thought I’d broken my neck. They gave me some powerful drugs, and after that, I was in and out of consciousness for an entire month.

“I remember waking up a month after the accident to see my family who had flown to the hospital from our home in Pennsylvania. They explained that I had two or three surgeries and pneumonia a few times while I’d been unconscious. They told me I broke my neck at C4 and C5 and was paralyzed from the chest down. They explained that the doctors put a steel cage around C3, C4 and C5 and stabilized it with wire mesh and screws. At that time, I was on a ventilator and I couldn’t move my arms at all. I was totally dependent on someone else to care for me.

Greg never had a "why me?" mentality. Instead, he focused on getting better.

Greg never had a “why me?” mentality. Instead, he focused on getting better.

“My parents made arrangements for me to be taken to the Shepherd Center in Atlanta, GA, because they learned that this hospital had one of the most aggressive programs in the country for helping rehabilitate patients with spinal cord injuries. I was flown in a medical jet with a nurse. When I arrived at the Shepherd Center, they told me I would be paralyzed from the chest down for the rest of my life. That was the worst news I thought I ever could hear. I’d always been very athletic so the news was very hard to process. Finally, I thought, ‘Okay, this is what my life looks like right now. What do I need to do to start the recovery process?’ I did not go through the ‘why me’ but did have all the depression that some people encounter when they have a spinal cord injury like this. I just decided, ‘This is my condition now. What do I need to do to get the most function back that I can?’”


 Next: Greg Traynor Works Hard at the Shepherd Center

About the Author: For the last 12 years, John E. Phillips of Vestavia, Alabama, has been a professional blogger for major companies, corporations and tourism associations throughout the nation. During his 24 years as Outdoor Editor for “The Birmingham Post-Herald” newspaper, he published more than 7,000 newspaper columns and sold more than 100,000 of his photos to newspapers, magazines and internet sites. He also hosted a radio show that was syndicated at 27 radio stations; created, wrote and sold a syndicated newspaper column that ran in 38 newspapers for more than a decade; and wrote and sold more than 30 books. Learn more at


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