A Brazilian woman made a stunning recovery after an accident at the gym reportedly left her paralyzed from the neck down.
In January 2016, 23-year-old Marcelle Mancuso was executing an inverse situp—which, for the unfamiliar, is a situp performed upside down, with your ankles in the air and your head near the floor—at her gym in Sao Jose do Rio Preto, when the strap holding her legs in place broke, reports SWNS.com.
“The personal trainer could not hold me,” Mancuso told SWNS.com. “I hit the back of my head on the floor, and immediately lost all body movements with the blow. My diagnosis was tetraplegia—no movement in my arms or legs. The doctors did not know if I would walk again or if I would stay on a bed forever.”
After the fall, Mancuso was taken to the emergency room, where doctors determined she’d broken the fifth vertebrae in her neck. Two more were injured and dislocated, and Mancuso received a bone graft and a metal plate to correct her spinal injuries.
SNWS.com reports that her physicians were uncertain about whether or not Mancuso would walk again, but limited movement quickly returned to her limbs: Within three days, she could move her fingers and toes, within a week she could stand (with help, but still), and from there, she began relearning how to walk.
“I gave my best every day in physical therapy,” she said. “I thought if my movements did not come back it would not be my fault, it would be destiny. I was willing to fight until the last minute.”
“After four months I started to improve my leg strength and five months after the accident I stopped having fainting and dizziness while walking,” she added. “After six months I managed to walk and my legs did not sway any more.”
Impressively enough, Mancuso is now back in the gym, working out even more than before. Even crazier: Her regimen still includes inverse situps.
Mancuso told SWNS.com that she wants to serve as inspiration for people who have suffered from, and still live with, similar injuries. “It sometimes feels like it was a nightmare I have woken up from,” she said. “While you’re alive, you have a chance. Life can be incredible from various perspectives, it just depends on us and the love we carry in our hearts.”