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Marimba Player Makes Music Again

Abel Villalobos, who 10 years ago was involved in a car crash and was left paralyzed, has learned to make music again after doctors initially gave him a weak prognosis.

Villalobos's career was quite promising; a "respected musician," as Ramon Renteria reports for the El Paso Times, just about to graduate from the University of Texas, when he was T-boned on his way back from a hardware store.

"I was going through an intersection and boom. I was T-boned. It was heartbreaking. That put a damper on everything," Villalobos said.

Says Villalobos's college professor Larry White, "I've learned as much from him as he's learned from me," referring to the long struggle since the car auto wreck. White promised not to retire until Villalobos earned his college degree - and now Villalobos has.

"I forget that I'm in a wheelchair," Villalobos said, referring to the feeling he gets when he plays music.

Villalobos doesn't know whether or not the car accident was his fault; all he remembers is waking up in the Beaumont Army Medical Center, with doctors telling him he'd never be able to drive again, use a normal wheelchair, dress or bath himself.

Villalobos says, "Guess what? I proved them wrong."

Source: El Paso Times, "The beat goes on: Percussionist finds way back to music after devastating accident," by Ramon Renteria, 06/19/2011

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