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Kris Wilkes: Potential NBA Star Who Lost His Ability To Walk Day Before Signing Contract
- On the day Kris Wilkes was meant to sign for an NBA team, he woke up and discovered that he was paralysed from the waist downwards
- Medical tests indicated that Wilkes suffered from acute disseminated encephalomyelitis, an autoimmune disorder known medically as ADEM
- He managed to regain his ability to walk after several months, but the NBA dream had since disappeared into thin air
On the morning of June 20, 2019, Kris Wilkes woke up in high spirits as he looked forward to signing a life-changing contract with a National Basketball Association (NBA) club.
It had been a childhood dream that was finally within grasp, and his girlfriend, as well as family members, were there to see him make the big-money move.
Wilkes had nurtured his budding basketball career since childhood to the extent of receiving his first scholarship offer while in eighth grade.
Lost ability to walk
All that came to a screeching halt on that morning in Indianapolis when the young basketballer, famed for his high-flying, rim-rattling dunks, woke up but his legs couldn't move.
The New York Times reports that Wilkes tore off the bed covers and stared at his lower body as he tried to move around, only to discover that he had no feeling below his waist.
It was a huge blow in the young sportsman's future as he had been confident that he was headed for bigger things.
“I had no doubt in my mind that I was going to be a first-round pick. I was in the best shape of my life. Unfortunately, it was short-lived,” said a dejected Wilkes.
He quickly called his father Greg who rushed over and put him in an ambulance to St Vincent Hospital.
Watched others sign from hospital
That night, Wilkes and his family watched on TV as 60 NBA signings went on without their kin, who was not only struggling to breathe but also unable to move his legs.
After a series of neurological tests and X-rays, it was discovered that the young player suffered acute disseminated encephalomyelitis, an autoimmune disorder known medically as ADEM.
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The disorder makes the body confuse its own brain tissue and spinal cord with an infection and stage attacks against them, causing immobility.
As much as doctors told the family that Wilkes would potentially be confined to a wheelchair, he managed to pull himself from the scare and walk again.
He, however, has had to painfully accept that his dream of joining the NBA may never be achieved.