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Denair homecoming queen follows new dreams after tragic accident
Denair High School senior Megan Herrington is crowned as the 2010 homecoming queen. After a freak accident that left her paralyzed, she never imagined being crowned homecoming queen. - photo by MAEGAN MARTENS / The Journal
She sat in her wheelchair nervously as the crowd grew silent; her head held down waiting for the results.   
“And the 2010 homecoming queen is . . . Megan Herrington.”
The crowd jumped up with cheers that echoed throughout the Denair High gymnasium and Herrington’s face glowed with excitement and shock.   
This was the last thing she imagined happening after she was paralyzed in August 2006.
“Four years ago, I was thinking about getting Most Valuable Player in softball,” Herrington said. “Winning homecoming queen didn’t even cross my mind.”
That summer changed everything about Herrington’s life and is one that she will always remember.
Herrington was enjoying the summer sun in August 2006 with a few friends when her friend sprayed her with some cold water from the hose.
“It was so cold, so I jumped up,” Herrington said. “Twenty minutes later, I couldn’t walk.”
Doctors say that when Herrington jumped, she hyper-extended her back causing a rare injury known as surfer’s myelopathy. The injury was non-traumatic. She suffered no breaks in her spinal column, the discs in her back were not ruptured, and there were no cuts in her spinal cord. It is swelling within the spinal canal that has left Herrington with no feeling in her lower body leaving her confined to a wheelchair.
She is the 11th documented case of surfer’s myelopathy and the only woman to suffer the injury so far. She is also the first person to suffer the injury while not surfing.
“This made me grow up faster,” Herrington said. “Now I have a better outlook on life. I just don’t get to do the things that I used to do.”
From that summer day that changed her life to being crowned homecoming queen in front of her fellow classmates, what Herrington misses the most is playing softball.
Her plans were to play softball throughout high school and onto college but her dreams had to be adjusted after eight years of squatting behind home plate as catcher.
Since her accident, she tries to stay active in softball with taking stats for her team but watching the sport she loves and not being able to play is sometimes too hard for her to bear.
“It’s too hard to watch people play softball now,” Herrington said.
To fill the void of a bat and a glove, she now fills her time with painting and drawing, she said.
“It really calms me down and gives me something to concentrate on,” she said. “It is something I am good at too.”
One of her works of art is a collage portrait of teen heart throb Robert Pattinson from the movie “Twilight.”
Herrington plans to attend California State University, Stanislaus this fall and pursue her goal of becoming an art teacher.
To contact Maegan Martens, e-mail or call 634-9141 ext. 2015.