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Chinese Gymnast Likely Paralyzed
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Doctors say Wang Yan is likely paralyzed after falling from the uneven bars at the Chinese National Championships in Shanghai.
Wang Yan at the 2006 National Championships

During Sunday's team final, Wang reportedly hit the bar with her feet on her dismount and crashed headfirst to the mat. Photos show Wang being carried from the arena on a stretcher, yet without a neck brace.

Doctors said Wang, 15, was lucky to have survived the accident. She suffered fractures and dislocation of the second and third vertebrae.

"It's a very serious injury," specialist Jia Lianshun told the media. "The patient could not react to stimulant under the chest bone and both hands lost the capability to move. The symptom is very similar to top marrow damage, which could result in a death rate of 98.5 percentage according to the statistics."

Wang is reportedly still unconscious, and surgery is planned when her condition improves.

"What's lucky for her is she revived the function in the right leg and foot," Jia said. "With appropriate medical treatment, it's possible to recover part of the physical function."

Wang's injury comes nine years after Sang Lan broke her neck warming up vault at the 1998 Goodwill Games in New York. With surgery and rehabilitation, Sang regained partial use of her arms. Sang will be a torchbearer at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.

International Gymnast Magazine Related Feature
"The Spirit Moves Her" - Sang interview (January 1999)

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