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Utah mailman paralyzed by injury on vacation to Hawaii

SOUTH JORDAN — A vacation to Hawaii in January turned into a nightmare for a Utah mailman.

For the past 11 months, Todd Edgington has been recovering from a severe injury he suffered while swimming and diving into waves. While he no longer can do many things he used to, Edgington and his family remain optimistic.

"I felt my head hit the bottom of the ocean and then just crack in two,” said Edgington, who broke two vertebrae in his neck and was paralyzed from the chest down.

Edgington's wife, Vicki, said she will never forget what the doctors said.

“They told me when we got there that he had severed one of the arteries in his neck,” Vicki Edgington said. “They didn’t think he would make it through the night.”

He did make it, but he is now a quadriplegic. He still has movement from the shoulders up.

Todd Edgington said he misses driving his routes, delivering mail and walking 10 miles a day, a job he had for 15 years, but he's determined to focus on the positive.

“Being a mailman, we only get every sixth Saturday off, and so I can go to all the grandkids’ soccer games,” he said. “That’s a plus I didn’t have before.”

The South Jordan man is going to physical therapy three times a week to help him get stronger and hopefully get some feeling back someday, his family said on the Todd Edgington Therapy Fund GoFundMe page. It’s a slow process, so the family is taking things one day at a time.

The injury forced the Edgington family to make drastic changes in their home. Vicki Edgington had to quit her job and become her husband's full-time caregiver.

“It’s just me, so I am lucky enough that I have kids that are close by that can help me,” she said.

Vicki Edgington said their daily routine is a lot longer than it used to be. To get around, Todd Edgington now uses a custom wheelchair.

“Since he doesn’t have any use of his arms or hands or anything like that, they designed (this wheelchair) that he can actually control using his tongue,” Vicki Edgington said.

The Edgingtons adjusted the first floor of their South Jordan home to cater to his new needs.

“We had to take out all the carpet so that the wheelchair would be able to get around,” Vicki Edgington said. “We had to widen the door frames so that the wheelchair could get through.”

The family also had to add a ramp in their garage leading up to their new van, along with building a custom bathroom. Many of the materials and labor were donated by friends and total strangers.

“You just never realized how many good-hearted people are out there to help unfortunate people like me that were just in the wrong place at the wrong time,” Todd Edgington said.

Vicki Edgington said the family is getting by, celebrating every little improvement to keep his spirits up.

“I can’t imagine how challenging it is for him and what it feels like inside his body, but we are so, so grateful he’s still here,” she said.

Contributing: Viviane Vo-Duc

Email: amoser@deseretnews.com