Paralyzed wrestler now walking, will return to Pleasant Hill high school

2020 is off to a great start for Ryan Joseph. KTVU first told the story of the East Bay high school student, who was paralyzed during a wrestling match two years ago.

The 18-year-old has been away in Colorado receiving treatment, but next week, he is set to return to College Park High School in Pleasant Hill for the first time since the accident. 

Ryan and his family are sharing a remarkable update. He can walk again with the help of crutches at his home in Walnut Creek.  

Ryan said he is looking forward to being with all his friends again at school and that he's grateful things have worked out well for him and his family.

"It's awesome to be home after so long," said Ryan.  

In January 2018, Ryan became paralyzed from the neck down after an accident during a high-school wrestling match. He needed the help of a ventilator to breathe. 

The long journey to recovery has been eased in part by his resilient spirit.

"Everything just came together. Stuff usually works out for me so..." said Ryan. 

Until two weeks ago, he had been in Colorado where he received treatment at Craig Hospital, which specializes in spinal-cord injuries.

The family shared video taken in August when Ryan took his first solo steps.   

"For him to be walking now is pretty incredible," said Kristin Joseph, Ryan's mother.  

The family credits a great medical team and support from friends and strangers for helping them cope with challenges they faced. 

"Everyone's had our back this entire time. That makes me cry and that's made a huge difference," said Kristin. 

The family says they are grateful for the donations from the community to help renovate the home to accommodate Ryan: a work still in progress.

"Every day, it gets better. Then you look up and two years have passed. It's hard to imagine," said Tom Joseph, Ryan's father.    

 Ryan said the key is to take one step at a time, one day at a time. 

He can now walk for up to an hour each day. 

"I've been really happy with how my family and I have handled this.  But I think people can do a lot more than they think they can,” he said. 

On Tuesday, Ryan plans to return to College Park High School for the first time to attend classes  since his accident. 

He is scheduled to graduate on time in May.

How you can help: Fundraiser for Joseph family 

Helping One Woman: College Park H.S.-- Kristin Joseph