UI student recovering well after climbing wall fall - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

UI student recovering well after climbing wall fall


University of Iowa student Spencer Bean has had to scale more than his fare share of obstacles.

"The first two months of my freshman year I had three collapsed lungs, my sophomore and junior year, my heart stopped two times," Bean said.

None may have been as daunting as what he faced this past November.

"I let go, and I felt myself falling, and I was like, I should have stopped by now.  It took 1 or 2 seconds for me to fall, but I knew something wasn't right," Bean said.

Bean, an avid climber, says he was properly tied in to safety restraints on the University of Iowa's large climbing wall.

He still isn't completely sure what happened that night.

Bean says he lost his grip but was never caught by the restraint system.  He fell more than 30 feet landing on his feet on the ground.

"It kind of got scary once I got to the ER, they were telling me what happened," he said.

"It all happened so fast.  It seemed like nobody really understood what had just transpired," said Jon Rohrer, Bean's friend and roommate at the university.

Doctors found bean had two fractured vertebrae.

Bean was rushed into emergency spinal surgery, where doctors discovered bean was extremely lucky he wasn't paralyzed from his injuries.

"Another millimeter into the spinal cord and I might not be walking right now," Bean said.

Bean says the support of friends, family, and complete strangers helped him through a difficult first week in the hospital.

Relying on his past experiences in the hospital, Bean was able to stay upbeat and optimistic through it all and amazingly eight days after the accident, Bean had a major breakthrough.

"He had been laying in bed and he had barely stood up or taken a few steps and all of a sudden he's walking around the whole floor," said Jamie Klepetka, Bean's girlfriend.

Each day Bean is getting stronger.  He says he is thankful to everybody that helped get him back on his feet. 

Bean is back on campus and ready to start the second semester of his senior year.

The University of Iowa still has not released details regarding the nature of the accident.


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