1 yr. after crash, St. X grad reaches milestone

Posted at 6:45 PM, Nov 25, 2015
and last updated 2015-11-25 18:45:56-05

ALTA, Utah — There was a time when Cincinnati-native Jim Harris wasn’t sure he’d make it back home after a traction kite crash in Chile one year ago.

But he’s never been one to shy away from a challenge, and now he’s made it back from the hospital bed to the bunny slope.

An avid skier, Harris said getting back on the bunny slope is a challenge and a milestone.

One year ago, the St. Xavier High School graduate crashed in a traction kite while visiting Punta Arenas, Chile. His back was shattered, vertebrae broken, and he was left paralyzed from the waist down.

His road to recovery was long and grueling, including surgery here in Cincinnati then a trip to Denver to begin therapy.

“They put me in a harness and put me on a treadmill,” Harris said. “People would hold my legs and move my legs for me on this treadmill for an hour a day, every day, for months.”

Once treatment was underway, Harris said, his goal became standing and balancing.

Remarkably, he reached that goal just a few months after his surgery.

Soon after that, he was walking without his walker, and it wasn't long before Harris was living on his own again, continuing therapy near his home, currently in California.

Harris celebrated his most recent milestone — strapping on his skis and taking on the bunny slope — here in Alta, Utah.