FSU student from Boynton Beach progressing well after skydive crash

Rods and screws now hold his pelvis together

BOYNTON BEACH, Fla. - It has been ten weeks since Stephen Spradling, a certified skydiver,  tried to avoid a mid-air collision and in the process landed awkwardly and broke numerous bones.

Rods and screws now hold his pelvis together. He's doing more than just hold himself together. He's thriving.

When you've brought entire stadiums to their feet as an FSU baseball player, or jumped out of a plane, life with crutches is new to Spradling.

"Getting up to go to the bathroom to brush your teeth, that's a little thing you don't think about, but it's something I couldn't even do," said Spradling.

"I think about it sometimes, but not too much," he said. "It's in the past, everything happens for a reason, I believe."

On Thursday, with his physical therapist watching, he took his first steps since the accident. They were captured on camera.

A breakthrough, two weeks ahead of schedule. "Look his legs are working!" said Aphrodite Dailey, of Bethesda Memorial Hospital.

Spradling also made a change in goals. He's giving up skydiving and now plans a career in environmental conservation after graduation. He'll make his first trip back to FSU this week.

Around the same time he expected to be one of their starting outfielders. Will he play again? "I'm not sure. We'll see. I'm going to work hard. We'll see where it goes," Spradling said. "I enjoy the game, it's not the most important thing in my life. That's where this process brought out."

He credits his fiancée, his family, and God for seeing him through the crash and his recovery. "It really makes you realize how lucky you are, how blessed you are," said Spradling.

Dailey says he's what second chances are all about.

"He almost got the game over card, he almost died," said Dailey. "I know he'll take this, and carry on and help other people." Dailey says that in a few weeks, he will likely be able to toss aside the crutches and stand on his own two feet, even though he never really stopped doing that.

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