Freak hunting accident leaves Auburn teen paralyzed

SEATTLE -- A freak hunting accident in the woods near Mount Rainier recently left an Auburn teenager paralyzed, but his parents say it didn't break his spirit.

Kevin Wayne Jr. lives for the outdoors. The 17-year-old went elk hunting with three older buddies last month, where the guys shot a six point. They tied the 1,200 pound animal to their truck's hitch and were hauling it up a hill when the rope snapped.

"My son didn't see it," said Kevin Wayne Sr. "He was walking up the hill and the rope broke and hit him in the back and the rope went around his neck. I don't know if the truck pulled him a little, (but) it lifted his neck up two inches."

The rope severed Kevin's spinal cord.

"At the accident he said he was paralyzed. 'I can't move, I'm paralyzed,' he told his friends," Kevin's dad said.

His injuries required heart surgery, and his dad left his gardening job on the Muckleshoot Reservation to be by his side. Now he's forced to worry about his boy's well being, as well as the money it will cost to care for him.

"It's really depressing for my son not to be able to go outside all the time," Wayne Sr. said. "It's just depressing to me and to him."

Kevin hasn't yet talked about his paralysis.

"The only thing he has said is, 'I should have stayed home that morning,'" said his mother, Aurea Gonzales.

While there has been little to be upbeat about since the accident, his parents are thrilled that Kevin can even talk. He just got his voice back two days.

"It's a froggy growl, but it's a voice," Gonzales said.

Gonzales said doctors initially told her Kevin would never be able to eat or breath on his own, but on Wednesday the teenager sipped on a smoothie.

"Miracles do happen and he's gonna show everybody wrong," she said.

Doctors say Kevin won't be able to use his hands, but will probably be able to use his arms well enough to use a wheelchair.

The family is raising funds for Kevin's rehabilitation. If you'd like to help, you can do so here.