Injured Washington Senior Reunited with Family This Christmas

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — Nearly five months ago, Washington High School senior Malik Paulson was injured in a swimming accident at Wall Lake.

He says he was diving out into the water with a baseball cap on, and a wave pushed the front of the cap down snapping his neck. He was left paralyzed from the neck down.

After months in hospital rooms, Paulson is reunited with his family at home this holiday season.

“It’s been a long journey and it’s good to finally come home,” says Malik Paulson.

Paulson has spent the last four months in hospital rooms. Last week he was discharged indefinitely for home right before the Christmas holiday.

“I was looking forward to it for a long time. I was just ready to come home,” says Malik Paulson.

And his family was more than ready to have him back.

“Thanksgiving was hard because he wasn’t home, and it was just different and lonely, but he’s home and he completes our family,” says Linda Paulson Malik’s mom.

“It’s exhausting and exciting. I really missed him being here with me. He’s like my best friend to me,” says Janiqua Paulson Malik’s sister.

Malik was spending his days at Madonna Rehabilitation Hospital in Lincoln, Nebraska where it wasn’t all doom and gloom.

The 18 year-old played football for the Warriors and his former teammate Will Farniok is now with the Huskers.

Farniok and players were able to be a light to Malik in his darkest days.

“It was really awesome to have them as support down there. They got me tickets to the Nebraska Bethune-Cookman game. I sat front row in the south corner, and it was really awesome going to my first game,” says Malik Paulson.

Malik is now a quadriplegic, but it’s not dampening his family’s spirits.

“We’re just taking it slow and day by day. He can maneuver around his own wheelchair with his head. He just has a complete positive outlook on the future. I couldn’t be any prouder,” says Linda Paulson.

While it wasn’t the Christmas the Paulson’s expected to have this year.

“Every emotion that you could possibly think of has probably happened. Some days have been hard some days are a lot easier than others,” says Linda Paulson.

At least they’re together.

“Just don’t take the little things for ,” says Malik Paulson.

Malik is on track to graduate this spring from Washington. His goal is to attend UNL for electrical engineering and build exoskeleton suits for those who are paralyzed.

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