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Mississippi pastor injured in Houston heads back home after successful rehabilitation

HOUSTON – Pastor Dan Hall from Mississippi is a father and grandpa. That role might by why he’s here today.

"All I could think about were my kids," Hall said about the hours he lay suffering before anyone found him.

In August, Hall was in Houston for a conference when he collapsed. He suffered a pulmonary embolism and broke bones in his spine when he fell.

The high-cervical nerves that were damaged during his fall are among the most severe spinal cord injuries; he was paralyzed, unable to talk and told he would need a respirator forever.

"His injuries occurred essentially at C3, C4," said Dr. Joseph Martinez, neurosurgeon with Memorial Hermann Mischer Neuroscience Institute and UTHealth.

Dr. Martinez operated on Hall's spine after the fall.

"He had a slightly better prognosis, perhaps, because he had a contusion of the spinal cord, so his spinal cord was bruised and had been smashed, but it was still in continuity," Martinez said. "Even still, that prognosis is typically not great."

Once he was at TIRR Memorial Hermann, everyone knew the recovery would be long and strenuous. But Hall focused on what he had, not what he wants, and he began making remarkable recovery. He started speaking first and then doctors removed the ventilator. Now, physical therapists say he has regained use of some muscles in his legs.

"Any optimism I have isn’t based on some pie in the sky. I’m gonna be walking again one day, I want to, I don’t want to stay like this, but the optimism is life is so much more than walking," Hall said.

KPRC was there the day he left TIRR Memorial Hermann Outpatient Rehabilitation.

"The outlook, I’m not sure, it’s almost irrelevant. I’m fighting for all I can get but whatever I end up with or however long it takes doesn’t change what’s valuable to me in life," he said.

Hall is now back home in Mississippi.

On his facebook page Hall enjoys posting videos of being back in front of the congregation, using this experience as a new testament to faith.