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It's not often that getting into an accident is actually a positive thing, particularly for an athlete. But the accident Paralympian Monique Van der Vorst had last year may very well be the best thing to ever happen in all her 27 years. It may also very well be the most incredible reversal of fortune I've ever heard in my life.
The handcyclist from the Netherlands was paralyzed from the hip down since the age of 13, but didn't let that stop her from becoming a silver medalist. She wasn't going to let it stop her from becoming a gold medalist, either. But while she was training in her wheelchair for the 2012 London Paralympics, she was suddenly hit by a bicycle. The accident could have derailed her plans entirely.
Instead, it did quite the opposite.
Van der Vorst was recovering in the hospital when something amazing happened. Amazing isn't even the word, really. I don't think a word exists to describe what happened next. It's the kind of thing that, if you saw it in a movie, you'd roll your eyes and go, "Yeah, like that would ever happen."
What happened next was this: Van der Vorst's feet started tingling.
That's right, the accident unparalyzed Van der Vorst.
Doctors can't explain how Van der Vorst regained movement of her body. As for the fact that Van der Vorst is now training as an able-bodied cyclist with the goal of competing in the 2016 Olympics -- nope, not the Paralympics, the actual Olympics -- well, nobody can explain that one. Van der Vorst's miraculous physical turnaround defies logic. (Hence the use of the term "miraculous.")
Certainly Van der Vorst's strength, spirit and determination played a huge role in her recovery. But there's got to be a little bit of magic or luck or grace at play here, too. Either way, if this story isn't proof that anything is possible, I just don't know what is!
Do you think miracles can happen?
Image via Stuart Grout/Flickr