NewsSt. Landry Parish


After life-altering incident, a local Opelousas man overcomes the odds

Posted at 11:56 PM, Feb 23, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-24 07:09:09-05

OPELOUSAS — With all eyes on him, Thaddeus Sam of Opelousas was just doing what he does best.

"My daddy used to train horses, me and him. I used to stand up on horses and ever since then, I fell in love with horses", says Sam.

On Sunday, T-Sam gave his horse, Ludacris, a break from the spotlight... debuting his one year old calf, Levi.

The video spread like wildfire around Acadiana with over a thousand shares. But the comments would shed light to the man on top.

"The past three years have been a long road as being a father and sitting back watching Thaddeus go from riding horses and around the yard doing chores to not being able to do anything for himself," said Elton Sam Jr.

In 2018, T-Sam was shot at a trail ride. The bullet in his neck caused a spinal cord injury leaving him paralyzed from the waist down. Doctors said he would never walk or ride horses ever again.

"One response I made to the doctors was that if you continue to tell somebody that in that condition, the only thing that you will do is condition their mind to want to hurt them self," said Elton.

After spending 30 days in the hospital and feeling depressed, T-Sam decided to get out of his slump and saddle up. Throughout rehab, he had to learn new ways of still doing what he loved.

"After I left the hospital, it was hard because it was a new environment being in a wheelchair. I came home and wanted to ride my horse," said Thaddeus. "My daddy put me on my horse probably the fourth day of me being out of the hospital. I liked it, but then I didn't because I couldn't really do what I normally do so I started getting depressed but I decided I couldn't let my little boy see me down. So, I manned up and started riding my horses."

Sam's family is raising funds for him to get an Action Track chair. Since the viral video, their donations have increased by over $6,000.

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