Gymnastics coach Jim Unger fighting to walk again

Jim Unger

By: Ashley Harding

A bicycle accident leaves a beloved gymnastics coach fighting to walk again. Jim Unger was crossing 56th street when he hit a pothole and went flying into a tree. He suffered a severe spinal cord injury. Right now, he can't move from the chest down.

Unger's wife says since he arrived at the hospital, he has quickly become everyone's favorite patient. And even though it'll be a long road to recovery, she knows if anyone can get through this, it's Jim Unger.

To those who know and love Jim Unger, he's a masterful tumbler, a jokester, a wonderful husband and father. And to the students at the gymnastics school he owns with his wife Shannon, he's the best thing ever.

“They always want to marry him or hug him or, they ask, 'are you married to Mr. Unger? I wanted to marry him!'” Shannon Unger said. 

Last Friday night, Jim was riding his bike along 56th street, when he hit two potholes, went airborne, and hit a tree, causing serious damage to his spinal cord. Although he can move his arms up and down, he has no movement below the chest.

“I've thought, why couldn't it be me? Because I'm not nearly as active, he can't sit still,” Shannon said.

Shannon says Jim's recovery will be long and costly, but nothing the family hasn't experienced before. Shannon is a breast cancer survivor, and Jim was there every step of the way, telling her she would get through it. Her plan now is to be there for him, showing that same love and support, with a little help.

“God is a God of miracles. So whether the doctors say it or not, it can happen,” Shannon said.

Shannon says while they're going through rehab, classes at the gym will go on but under different instructors. The family is also in the process of setting up a fund at Union bank to help in his medical expenses.