Atlanta's Shepherd Center helps W.Va. man adapt to new life

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A young man from West Virginia is grateful for the help he's received at Shepherd Center in Atlanta.

Steven Corbin is in his final weeks of rehabilitation following a severe spinal injury that left him without the use of his legs. He was deer hunting on Nov. 11, 2016, when he fell 20 feet from a tree stand.

"All of a sudden I feel light-headed. I felt like I was going to get sick. I looked over the side. I woke up on the ground. I was trying to move. Everything was numb", he said.

Steven suffered a spinal dislocation fracture as well as broken ribs and a broken sternum. He was rushed to a Virginia hospital by helicopter. News from his doctor was bleak.

"The doctor came in and said 'I'm here to fix you to where you can sit up -- not that you'll ever walk again.' I'm about half-sedated and I still remember that to this day", Steven said. 

But only a few days after his fall, Steven learned he would be coming to Atlanta. A bed that was being held for someone else opened up at Shepherd Center.

 "It was maybe a day or two in paperwork. Usually, it doesn't happen that fast", Steven said.

Hailey Augenstein, Steven's fiancée, said he got to work as soon as they arrived.

"When the doctor said 'I'm fixing you to sit up in bed', that doesn't give you much hope. That's like 'are you going to be in a nursing home? Are you going to be in bed the rest of your life?' When we got here, they're like 'get up, let's go. Get in your chair.'  The first night we were here, we went to dinner", Hailey said.

The team at Shepherd Center has helped Steven learn to adapt to life in a wheelchair. It seems nothing is off limits. Recently, he and Hailey went indoor skydiving at I-Fly.

"It was a blast. I never really thought about doing it until she was like 'hey, we're going to I-Fly.' I was like 'OK, cool' ", Steven said.

Steven is finishing up his third and final in-patient stay at Shepherd Center.

He and Hailey said all of the doctors, nurses, and therapists have become like family. Many staff members will be guests at the couple's wedding later this year. One of Hailey's bridesmaids is a nurse who helped take care of Steven.

Steven wanted to pass along this message to other hunters: be sure to wear a safety harness if you're hunting from a tree stand.