| PHILADELPHIA -- Three-and-a-half months after severely
injuring his spine in a football game, Penn State freshman Adam
Taliaferro walked out of a hospital on crutches Friday.
"I never thought of it as a nightmare. I thought of it as a
freak accident that happened to occur to me," Taliaferro, 19, of
Voorhees, N.J., said.
Taliaferro expects to return to classes at Penn State this
summer. He won't play football again, but he was content just to
"I've still got a lot of work to do, but I'm just thankful to
get home," Taliaferro said before leaving Magee Rehabilitation
He will continue with outpatient therapy five days a week. His
lead doctor, William Staas Jr., the hospital's president and
medical director, said Taliaferro should be walking without
crutches in a few weeks.
The former defensive back said he was not in pain, except for
the fatigue he feels after four to five hours of therapy each day.
He was surrounded by his parents, Andre and Addie Taliaferro,
and his younger brother, Bill; a phalanx of doctors and therapists;
and well-wishers from both Penn State and Eastern High School in
In his senior year at Eastern, Taliaferro was The Philadelphia
Inquirer's all-area high school football player of the year.
"In high school, he was the man. He scored all the points, all
the time," said teammate Chaz Brown, one of a half-dozen high
school friends at the hospital Friday.
Brown said their high school coaches sometimes kidded the
players, saying they simply waited for the man with the S on his
chest -- Taliaferro -- to score.
"I always called him Superman," Brown said. "I knew he was
going to walk again. So, I'm just waiting for him to fly."
Taliaferro, a true freshman, was injured making a headfirst
tackle in the Sept. 23 game at Ohio State. His head connected with
the knee of 231-pound running back Jerry Westbrooks, causing
Taliaferro's neck to snap back. His spinal cord was severely
bruised, but not severed.
He had successful spinal fusion surgery at Ohio State Medical
Center before being transferred to Thomas Jefferson University
Hospital in Philadelphia.
Taliaferro thanked the doctors and therapists who pushed him in
Dr. Wayne Sebastianelli, Penn State's director of athletic
medicine, treated Taliaferro in the crucial minutes after the
"He saved my life on the field that day," Taliaferro said as
Sebastianelli, nearby, fought back tears. "Without him, I wouldn't
be here today."
The Penn State community has raised more than $200,000 to pay
expenses not covered by insurance or the NCAA's catastrophic
coverage. Any remaining money will go toward a fund in Taliaferro's
name that will assist other college athletes who sustain
|Adam Taliaferro walks out of Magee Rehabilitation Hospital on Friday.|
PSU's freshman cornerback Adam Taliaferro walked to a news conference today with the help of crutches.