Minn. 10-Year-Old Boy Living with Spina Bifida Makes Great Strides

Created: 10/31/2013 9:34 PM KSTP.com By: Leslie Dyste

Mitchell Tanquist is a 10-year-old sports enthusiast, eager to show off what he can do.

From soccer to climbing to snowboarding, he is determined not to let his disability slow him down.

He was born with Spina Bifida. His spine developed abnormally. It causes partial paralysis, excess fluid on the brain and other complex health issues. He's had 10 surgeries in his short life.

After each surgery he is back at the Gillette clinic in Burnsville working with doctors and physical therapists, like Stephanie Zigan, to get back up to speed.

Zigan told us Mitchell has "come a long way. He's doing things we weren't sure he'd ever do like walking by himself."

Now Mitchell and his dad like to hit the slopes. Mitchell snowboards with some help form volunteers with the Courage Center.

He says it's his favorite thing to do in the winter. His parents say Spina Bifida won't keep him from being independent. "I don't see any limitations." Mitchell's dad Eric Tanquist says "he's not going to play pro football but he's very smart and does well in school so I don't see any reason he can't do what ever he wants to do."