A 2-year-old who was fighting a condition that left him paralyzed has regained his ability to walk.
In December of 2020, Alaric Bridgeman was diagnosed with transverse myelitis -- a neurological disorder that affects the spinal cord nerves.
Parents Dustin Bridgeman and Sarah Newell of New Castle, Pennsylvania, told "Good Morning America" that Alaric had mobility, yet was complaining about a muscle in his back. One day after visits to a chiropractor and the local emergency room, the toddler couldn't stand up or move his arms.
"I said, 'I think he might have that children's COVID they're taking about,'" Bridgeman said of his conversation with hospital staff. "I lifted his leg and it fell down. I said, 'Look. He's paralyzed.'" "I could see the fear in her eyes."
Bridgeman and Newell were told that Alaric was going to be taken to Akron Children’s Hospital in Akron, Ohio, to see a neurologist.
By the time they arrived to Akron, Alaric was completely paralyzed, the hospital told "GMA."
"I'll have to say, out of my whole life, this is the one time I was lost," Bridgeman said. "Both of us, we were lost. We didn't know what to do."
Alaric had tested negative for COVID-19. Doctors said a virus could have caused transverse myelitis, though there was no way to be certain, according to Bridgeman.
Alaric received steroid and plasma treatments. He began physical and occupational therapy Dec. 24.
"Doctors said they couldn't give an answer on whether or not he was going to walk and it [didn't] mean he was going to be paralyzed the rest of his life. " Bridgeman said.
Bridgeman said physical therapy was a challenge at first but each day, little by little, Alaric improved.
On Jan. 29, his last day in the hospital, staff gave a cheerful sendoff as Alaric walked again using his walker.
The emotional moment was captured on video.
"When we first brought him to the hospital, I didn't even know what our future would look like," Newell said.
"I don't think any grown up could've handled what Alaric handled in the way that he did," she added.
Alaric is now happy to be home with his three sisters, Allyson, 13, Ava, 10 and Everly, 4.
"The moment we got home, it was like another light switch went off," Bridgeman said. "He did everything in his power to move his body and be with his sisters."
Alaric loves monster trucks, excavators and construction vehicles. He also had a talent for playing baseball before losing his ability to move. Alaric's family hopes to see him play again some day.
"We never fathomed in our mind that it could've been the last time he was swinging a baseball bat because you don't think about that," Bridgeman said. "As a parent, don't take things for granted."
Bridgeman and Newell said Alaric can still make progress over the next year or so. They'd also like to thank hospital staff for showing so much kindness to their son, they said.