Mickey Gilley Recovering From Life-Threatening Accident
Mickey Gilley, whose country hits include ‘Stand By Me,’ featured in the iconic 1980 film ‘Urban Cowboy,’ continues to recover from serious injury to his neck and spinal cord suffered this past July.
Mickey, 73, was helping a friend move a 40-pound piece of furniture when he backed out through the threshold of a door and fell backwards, leaving him temporarily paralyzed from the neck down.
“When I got to ICU, when I woke up, I was still paralyzed, but then things began to slowly start to come back,” Mickey tells The Boot. “My arms started back first, and then my right leg, and now I’ve got [movement] in both legs and both arms. The only thing that’s giving me a problem now is my hands, but the doctor seems to think that when the swelling completely goes down in the spinal cord, that my hands should come back. It was very scary because I panicked when I woke up and couldn’t move.”
Mickey, who scored five ACM awards in 1976, including Entertainer of the Year, is now in physical therapy four days a week, concentrating on trying to walk again.
“I’ve walked a little bit with some help. They put me on a little four-wheel dolly, and I walked 454 feet. Then one day I walked 300 feet. Then they put me on a [machine which] helps you walk. It helps your legs up, and they put a certain amount of weight down on you on a treadmill — about half of what your weight is and you walk on that. I’ve done that a couple of times. But you’re strapped in and they hold you up when you’re walking.”
Mickey remains uncertain when he may return to perform at his Mickey Gilley Theater in Branson, Mo. “I don’t know whether I’ll get back this year at all because I’m not able to walk yet. But, hopefully, I’ll get back next year. I’ve got my restaurant there. Hopefully I’ll be working next year. I’m planning on it anyway.”
While Mickey’s spirit and attitude remain positive, he would welcome prayers that he’ll soon fully recover, especially in his hands so he can play the piano and perform again. More details of Mickey’s injury and his remarkable career in country music will be featured in an upcoming issue of Country Weekly magazine.