Paralyzed Teen Makayla Noble Hopes To Walk Across Stage at Her Graduation

Makayla Noble, the high school cheerleader who was paralyzed in a freak accident last September, has said she hopes to walk across the stage at her graduation.

The 17-year-old resident of Prosper, Texas, suffered a severe spinal cord injury while practicing tumbling—an acrobatic form of gymnastics—on September 20 and was left paralyzed from the chest down and unable to move her hands.

Noble, a Prosper High School cheerleader and world champion, tried to do a routine flip while practicing for homecoming at a friend's house. However, she ended up landing on her neck.

The teenager spent several weeks in hospital, where she also experienced a collapsed lung in addition to paralysis. She then moved to a rehabilitation facility before finally being allowed to return home.

She is now living at home although she continues to receive care from her family and is undergoing various forms of therapy. Her story has garnered widespread attention and the family has received an outpouring of support from their local community in northern Texas, and further afield.

The teen has made significant progress since the accident and is now able to use her arms and sit up on her own. She has also regained feeling throughout her body.

"I think getting out of the ICU and moving to a rehab facility and kind of realizing, like, I'm here, and I'm with people that are in similar situations as me, and just seeing what that looks like on other people and realizing how severe my injury was was kind of a surreal moment," Noble told ABC-affiliate WFAA in an interview.

Doctors initially did not give Noble much of a chance of walking again. But in light of her progress, the 17-year-old said her goal was to walk across the stage at her high school graduation in the spring of 2023.

"Whether that's with a machine or my family helping me, I have that in my brain and I'm going to do that one way or another. It might look different than everyone else walking across the stage, but I'm going to do it and I have a long way to go, obviously, but it's going to happen," she said.

Noble credited her trainer, Tim Cook, for much of her success. But Cook said he had no doubt the teenager would walk again because of her mindset.

"Makayla's progress has exceeded my expectation, by far, and that just goes to show her will, her grit, her work ethic," Cook told WFAA. "Whatever challenge that we have, she's always ready to go over and beyond the expectation we have set before her."

"There is not an inkling, a doubt, a hesitation in my mind that says she's not going to walk, because I know she will."

Noble said she does not like being told that she can't do something and that drives her to progress.

"If someone tells me I can't do something ... it's kind of my fuel," she said.

Makayla Noble and fellow cheerleaders
Makayla Noble (center left) with fellow cheerleaders. Noble was left paralyzed after a freak accident. Tiffany Smith