S.A. triathlete trains for a new life

A San Antonio triathlete, once believed to be paralyzed from the waist down, is beating the odds.

KENS 5's Mat Garcia sat down with Monica Caban to talk about her road to recovery two years after the bike accident that changed her life.

In October of 2012, Caban was training for her next triathlon when a truck hit her on the I-10 access road near Fair Oaks Park Way.

The impact threw her 30 feet and left her partially paralyzed.

In reflecting on the accident from her northeast side home, Caban said, "Two years ago in the hospital, I thought my life was going to be very different."

It's been baby steps ever since.

She greets her physical therapist Stephanie Compean every session with a smile.

"When she first came in, she wasn't moving anything from L-1 down," Compean said, "Within a month of starting, we thought she was starting to get some muscle return, but we weren't quite sure."

The baby steps turned into miraculous milestones.

Caban went from using full leg braces, modified three times, to going from two walkers to one.

"I've had a spinal cord stimulator implanted in me since the accident," Caban said, "That has been a true God send."

It's amazing her progress. in just over 2 years, this triathlete is back in pool and testing out a new customized bike.

Now, with the help of the 'Anti-Gravity Treadmill,' Caban can walk up to 2.1 mph using 60 percent of her body weight.

Doctor of Physical Therapy, Justin Martindale said, "When she came initially, she was only able to walk with 30 percent of her body weight on her legs at a speed of about .7 miles per hour...not even one mile an hour."

"It's been going rapidly fast," Caban said, "Miraculous is probably the best word and best description I can give you for my recovery."

Her daughter, Katalina Caban is amazed by her mother's progress.

"She's an inspiration and a miracle, Katalina said, "She really does not need my help. She could do anything on her own, drive, take out the trash, and the dishes."

San Antonio's biking community is also keeping up with Caban's progress.

"We've seen such remarkable steps," Jimmy Britton of Britton's Bicycle Shop said, "We thought she would not get out of a wheel chair, so it's remarkable to see where she's at today."

What's next for this mom and her never give-up attitude.

Caban said the monster of all triathlons, the KONA Ironman World Championship in 2016.

Monica is starting her own foundation to help injured tri-athletes like herself.

It will be called "Now You See Me Foundation."

Caban's accident sparked a campaign to increase awareness about bicycle safety in San Antonio and also renewed the focus on the city-wide 3-foot bicycle ordinance.

From its inception in 2010 until Monica's accident, only 6 citations were written to drivers who did not give cyclist enough space.

From 2012 to date, 27 citations have been issued.

Caban has noticed a major improvement.

"Yes, I think they are doing a better job," said Caban, "I have seen policemen giving out tickets and undercover cops doing their job."

For its part, San Antonio police say the ordinance is working.

Police Chief Anthony Trevino said the department will be doubling its efforts to keep bicycle safety top of mind.

"We're going to be putting out more public service announcements with some of the stake holders and we're going to be doing some sting operations here in the city," said Chief Trevino.

The chief also said he's looking forward to seeing more of Caban's recovery.

He called her a fighter who's determination can be credited to how far she has come.

Caban is also working on an a bicycle safety awareness ride to take place on May 30th.


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