MERIDIAN — Chris Hansen was paralyzed in a 4-wheeler accident back in April. Just like that, the BSU graduate and former football player's life changed forever.
In the past few months, Chris, a husband and father of two, has been busy working on getting his strength back. He's already back to work as a physical therapist.
The accident happened during a family trip to eastern Idaho.
"Not too far in, I decided to jump over a little hill of sand," Chris explained. "Didn't land too smoothly and I felt the pain in my back. And then I realized I couldn't move my legs, and I couldn't feel my legs."
Just hours later, he was in surgery. Afterwards, the surgeon told him he would likely never walk again.
"The realization of how much you lose after that small accident came one of the days, I think I was about five days into it," he said.
But Chris also realized that the only way out of this traumatic ordeal was through it. He knew his attitude was going to be key.
"Right before this accident we had agreed in our family that our motto was to love and live life," he said. "That's kind of the same thing that I still feel that I want to live by. There's still a lot of life to live."
Every day, you'll find him in his garage working on getting stronger.
"The hardest part is just being patient because you want to see the work [pay off] right now," he said.
His wife Chelsea says they have had their moments since the accident, but if anyone can get through it, Chris can.
"Chris is Chris, he has always been like this," she said. "He's very motivated to get better and not let this define us and him.
"There are times when it's hard, like I've probably cried more in the last two months than ever," Chelsea added. "The hard part is, I'm not really angry about things, you're sad about the things you might miss out on."
Chris is bound and determined not to miss out on anything. And that starts with his work as a physical therapist.
"He loves what he does, he loves helping people," Chelsea said. "He could not wait to get back in that clinic."
"It's almost like my version of therapy," Chris explained. "Instead of being the patient, I'm helping people who are my patients and we help them continue to get better."
And he wants to get back to being an active dad.
"I've coached my son's flag football team for every season and I still plan on doing it this fall," he said.
Chris is making that goal happen. We recently caught up with him, back out on the field, coaching his son again.
If you ask him, Chris will tell you the real heroes in his story are the people in the community who rallied around his family.
"It was people who donated money, it was the people who helped modify our house, it was all the people that prayed for us, all the people who thought about us," he said. "Having the support of the community and the fundraisers are what we relied on."
Chris wants to pay it forward, and that's what keeps him going.
"It sucks and you want to say it's not fair, but at the same time there's plenty of life and things to do going forward," he said. "And I don't really have the time to worry about feeling sorry for myself. That all gets in the way of whether you are working on trying to make yourself better."