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Tyler Vitiello walks for first time since neck injury

01/27/2012, 12:14pm EST
By NorthJersey.com

Saddle Brook football player Tyler Vitiello has reached a major milestone in his recovery from a broken neck. 

Saddle Brook football player Tyler Vitiello has reached a major milestone in his recovery from a broken neck.

Saddle Brook's Tyler Vitiello during a game earlier this season.
On Wednesday, Vitiello walked on his own for the first time since suffering the injury during a Nov. 5 game.

“He is walking,” Vitiello’s mother, Christine, told The Record via text message. “God has been listening to the hundreds and hundreds praying for him. Words can’t say how we feel, so thankful for everyone’s prayers, love and thoughtfulness for our son.”

Vitiello, a senior captain, suffered the injury to his vertebrae and spinal cord as he blocked during a kickoff return in the Falcons’ 5 win over Glen Rock. Vitiello was taken to the hospital by ambulance, unable to feel or move his legs. But after nine hours of emergency surgery at Hackensack University Medical Center, Vitiello began his recovery.

On Nov. 9, Vitiello was transported to Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation, where he’s been making progress.

“Walking again thank God,” Vitiello posted to his Twitter account on Wednesday. “Thx for all the wishes guys I’m getting there.”

Meanwhile, Vitiello’s football teammates welcomed the good news as they prepared to continue their state playoff run. Saddle Brook plays at Pompton Lakes today (1 p.m.) in the semifinals of North 1, Group 1.

“It was great to hear,” Saddle Brook coach Leo Ciappina said. “Just to be able to see that he’s walking again, everyone’s spirits went way up. But we’re still focused. Everyone wants to do this for Tyler, still.”

Vitiello still has a long recovery ahead — his family is unsure when he’ll be able to return home. But there’s no doubt, this was an important and momentous week in Vitiello’s recovery.

E-mail: vasqueza@northjersey.com 

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