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Adam Taliaferro recovery underscores Magee's leadership in rehabilitation

Taliaferro, the Inquirer's all-area high school football player of the year in 1999, suffered a severe spinal cord injury in the waning moments of the Penn State - Ohio State game on September 23, 2000.

As teammates prayed, he lay on the ground, unable to move. Fortunately, he received immediate expert medical attention on the field and later underwent successful spinal fusion surgery at Ohio State University Medical Center. Soon after, he was transferred to Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, and was admitted to Magee on October 6, 2000.

Before coming to Magee, prospects for recovery were dim. The Taliaferro family said that some doctors offered the opinion that Adam might never walk again. But Adam's parents, Andre and Addie, were determined to provide Adam with every opportunity to recover. "We came to Magee," Andre said, "because we were told they were the best - and they delivered!" At a news conference at Magee on November 1, 2000, Adam related his progress to reporters: " When I first got here, I couldn't move anything. Now they've got me moving my legs and my arms and everything." The media echoed Andre's statement that there was "a miracle in progress."

Adam was under the care of Dr. William E. Staas, Jr., Magee's President and Medical Director. Dr. Staas says he was encouraged when neurological examination showed that Adam's spinal cord was functioning. According to Dr. Staas, significant factors contributing to Adam's potential recovery were the nature of his injury, the immediate excellent response and treatment on the field by Dr. Wayne Sebastianelli (Penn State Director of Athletic Medicine), and careful handling by the Emergency Medical Technicians who carried Adam off the field.

Dr. Staas also credits Adam's recovery to his athletic training and determination to succeed, the support of family, friends and well-wishers across the nation, and the focus and singular diligence of the Magee rehabilitation team. "We are very proud of Adam and congratulate him on his way to full recovery. I am also very proud and congratulate our entire rehabilitation team whose expertise was demonstrated across the nation."

Despite a challenging initial prognosis following his spinal cord injury, Adam Taliaferro left Magee Rehabilitation on January 5, 2001 on his own two feet.