Elizabethtown teenager fighting to walk again after fracturing her spine, back and hips in DUI crash
The 16-year-old now sits confined in a wheelchair at Frazier Rehab Center, her mind fuzzy from the day she'll never forget.
ELIZABETHTOWN, Ky. (WDRB) -- You may not know her name, but Julia Shipp is a force on the world stage.
Master Aaron Shipp's walls at Victory Martial Arts in Elizabethtown are lined with clippings of his daughter's accomplishments. Julia won a second-degree black belt world title in Spain and another title a year later in Birmingham, England.
But the 16-year-old now sits confined in a wheelchair at Frazier Rehab Center, her mind fuzzy from the day she'll never forget.
Julia was in Mayfield, Kentucky, on Oct. 13, driving her grandmother home when Graves County authorities said Robin Tucker T-boned her white Impala.
"The car didn't stop," said Renee Shipp, Julia's mother. "There were no marks on the road. So she took full speed of the truck running into the car."
Tucker is now charged with driving under the influence.
"Her skull was fractured in three different places, and all three of those were displaced," Aaron Shipp said. "Her left ribs were broken, ribs 1-6 on the left side [and] rib one on the right side."
Julia also broke her spine, hips and pelvis. Her injuries were so severe that medics airlifted her to Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville.
"I saw God in the car. I saw him," she said. "He said 'Julia, I have plans for you. And you have to reach more people.' And I said, OK.'"
And Julia said she intends to live up to that. After three weeks in Intensive Care, Vanderbilt transferred Julia to Frazier in Louisville where her recovery may be nothing short of a miracle.
"It was about eight days before we got any movement in her legs at all," Renee Shipp said.
"One of my goals is to walk," Julia added. "And another one of my goals is stand up and hug people, and I can do that."
Despite her gains, Julia's parents know the world class martial artist has a long, painful road ahead.
"Julia is my champion," Aaron Shipp said. "But whether she ever steps on the floor again or not ... whatever it is, it's going to be good."
"I will go home. I will stand up and hug people. I will walk," Julia said. "I will compete again ... Those are my goals."
Victory Martial Arts is selling #FightforJulia T-shirts to help offset the costs of her recovery. You can find it on the Facebook page.
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