'Dude, I'm tall!': Teen's reaction to standing for first time since spinal cord injury is priceless

A North Carolina teen who suffered a spinal cord injury in a hood-surfing accident stood for the first time in nine months and his reaction will make you smile.

Beth Hodge captured footage of her 17-year-old son, J.J., standing up for the first time since his accident while at the NextStep Raleigh rehab and therapy specialist on June 29.In the video, J.J.‘s first reaction was not the fact that he was standing, but that he was so tall.

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As soon as J.J. was able to stand upright, he’s heard in the video saying, “Dude, I’m tall,” and his mother can be heard laughing in the background.

“How tall am I,” J.J. asked as he continued to stand with the help of the physical therapists.

“It was awesome and the look on his face was absolutely priceless,” Hodge wrote.

J.J. started neuromuscular electrical stimulations (NMES) to help strengthen his core and these stimulations are what helped give J.J. the extra push to finally stand up for the first time.

“They are concentrating on his core now, trying to strengthen it to allow him to do things like transfer himself to/from his chair and use a manual chair instead of only the big power chair. It’s a long and arduous process, but JJ says he is up for the challenge,” his mother wrote.

J.J. was initially treated at the Brenner Children’s Hospital in Winston-Salem before he was moved to the Shepherd Center in Atlanta, Georgia.

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There, he received treatment and rehab for his injuries before he was finally sent back home in February.

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the rehab center where J.J. had been receiving treatment had to be shut down which was difficult for the family, according to a Facebook post published by Hodge.

“The only real difficulty has been closure of the SCI (Spinal Cord Injury) rehab facilities. We were very fortunate to have a friend, K.k. Huffman, who is a PT student, come several times a week to work with JJ at our house,” the post read.

Hodge continues to document J.J.‘s journey to recovery on a dedicated Facebook page and has a GoFundMe set up to help with medical costs.

Storyful contributed to this story.