Ralph Lipelt

First post: Jul 19, 2017 Latest post: Mar 25, 2018
On Saturday, July 15th, Ralph (RP) was spending time camping and having a good time with family and friends. They were at the Sakakawea state park. After getting tackled by a few friends while in the water, we think he may have thought he was a little more limber than he thought. Though we don't know exactly what happened - to be honest- it looked as though my dad went down very slowly to do a somersault or roll. While going down, he did not tuck and contacted the sand - only going through 2 to 3 feet of water - forehead first. Upon impact, this made vertebra C6 and C7 separate horizontally completely. This damaged the spinal cord in the C6 space and caused paralysis from the lower chest down through his legs. Use of his fingers are also impaired; but he has full function of his arms. Upon neck break, RP was face down in the water. His friends quickly turned him over, RP calmly explained that he had no feeling in his legs, and he was stabilized in the water. Paramedics came and he was rushed via ambulance to Bismarck. Surgical intervention quickly followed to realign the C6 and C7 vertebrae. Though this is easily the most traumatic thing we have ever been through as a family, there are many many miracles and blessings to be grateful for along the way! With such an unbelievable shift in the two vertebrae, the amount of damage to the spinal cord was minimal for something so critical. The neurosurgeon that performed his surgery has been an absolute blessing to our family. He happened to be a traveling neurosurgeon from Pennsylvania and will be here for the next few weeks. He did not only do a phenomenal singular surgery, but he has been attentive and genuinely caring for my dad and our entire family. Though my dad’s functions remain the same as when he came into the ER, with faith and an unlimited support system of friends and family, anything is possible moving forward! So, we ask you to believe and pray with us for a grand and speedy recovery.

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