Paralyzed Rochester man returns home after diving accident

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(ABC 6 News) – A Rochester man is preparing to return home nearly six months after a devastating diving accident.

In August, Nathan Keller dove off of a dock and broke his neck. It left the 42-year-old a quadriplegic, paralyzed from the chest down.

“I think I’m doing pretty well. There’s always going to be some kind of down days, but I’ve been lucky enough to not have very many of them,” Keller said.

After the accident, Keller was airlifted to a hospital in Fargo where he underwent surgery on his spine. He then spent six weeks at Mayo Clinic in Rochester. Following that hospital stay, he’s been undergoing extensive physical therapy at Allina Health’s Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute in Golden Valley.

Staff at Courage Kenney believe Keller’s attitude is playing a key part in his long-term recovery. He’s positive and still has a sense of humor.

“You really don’t find that very often because it is a really difficult time to navigate for most people,” physical therapist Anne Emanuel said.

Keller is making an impression on those working to help him adjust to his new life, which also means coming to terms with the fact that he will likely never walk on his own again.

“Right off the bat, he said ‘hey’ this is happening to me. I’m not looking back. I’m looking ahead at what I can accomplish in my life because anything is possible’,” Emanuel said.

For Keller, who had to sell his house while in the hospital and find a handicap accessible place to live, positivity is just a part of who he is.

“I’ve always kind of been a happy kind of guy. Unless you make me mad. It’s hard to make me mad, for people to make me mad. I make myself mad all the time,” he said.

“He’s an inspiration,” his therapist said. “It’s a testament to who he is.”

A benefit on Saturday, Jan. 14 will raise money to pay for Kellers’ medical care and equipment. It’s being held at the American Legion in Eyota starting at 3:00 p.m.

Donations are also accepted, HERE.

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