Calven Goza is paralyzed below the chest. He has what doctors call a “complete injury;” his brain and spinal cord aren’t supposed to communicate below his injury.
But this December, when Goza thought about lifting his left leg, it rose off the table he was laying on.
He’s part of a revolutionary program at the University of Louisville that’s changing how doctors understand spinal injuries and redefining what it means to live with one. By implanting electrodes on Goza’s spine, doctors seem to have recovered a lingering signal between his brain and lower body – a pathway that was supposed to be severed forever.
A new life
“I never really expected much,” Goza said.
Doctors told him he had a 2 percent chance – virtually none – of ever regaining use of his legs after a 2012 car crash near Divide. The wreck, influenced by alcohol, killed another Montana Tech student.
Goza spent two months at a Denver hospital rehabilitating.
“It was more just learning how to adjust to a new lifestyle,” Goza said, “baseline, basic stuff that I needed to learn to get by and live on my own.”
By all accounts, Goza is more than getting by on his own. He continued to pursue a petroleum engineering degree. Tech ordered special equipment that made it easier for him to work out. He didn’t retreat into a wheelchair – he rolled forward.
But he never stopped thinking that maybe, someday, things could change.