Jim Phillips, one of the great authors and wrestling historians here at Pro Wrestling Stories, is in a bad way after being paralyzed on January 21st, 2023. Learn his story and how you can help him reach his goal of taking his first steps again.
On January 20th, 2023, Jim Phillips went to Anschutz Medical Center in Denver, Colorado, after months of nagging back pain that wouldn’t go away. The following morning, he was rushed into emergency surgery after doctors discovered a spinal epidural abscess.
As part of the biportal endoscopic spinal procedure, doctors removed part of his spine bone to drain the abscess. The severity was so bad that doctors said he would likely no longer be with us had they waited one more day.
Since surgery, Jim has been paralyzed from the middle of his back down.
For the past five and a half weeks, Jim has been trying to keep a positive attitude as he undergoes vigorous rehabilitation and adjusts to a new life without the use of his legs.
He still has a ways to go on this new journey, and he will remain in the hospital for 3-4 more weeks, followed by in-patient rehab.
Jim is known for his passion for writing and sharing his undying love of professional wrestling and its rich history.
As a wrestling historian here on ProWrestlingStories.com, Jim has beautifully documented a business he loves by chronicling the wrestling territories while acknowledging many who otherwise don’t get the recognition they deserve.
A lifetime Cauliflower Alley Club member (which honors and helps people from the wrestling business in a time of need), and an extraordinary chef, Jim has given back to so many over the years. Now, it’s our time to give back to him during his time of need.
Over the past few days, Jim has had some victories. After weeks of no feeling or movement from the middle of his back down, he has begun to be able to wiggle his left big toe slightly. Wins like this mean a great deal right now.
While some people regain feeling in their extremities and use of their legs 6-12 months after this procedure, doctors have told Jim to keep an open mind about the reality of living the rest of his life in a wheelchair.
Now Jim is not the type to ask for anything. He’s told me at least a few times, “I don’t want any handouts!” But desperate times have softened his stance on that.
The reality of life outside of the hospital is hitting hard. He will require the installation of an electric stair lift in his home, which will cost $10,000—a cost his Medicaid insurance won’t cover. However, he has asked that we set the goal to $5,000 so as not to burden others and because his savings, fortunately, allows him to cover around half of the cost.
Jim has been a friend I can call brother for many years. After losing my parents during the pandemic, Jim was on video with me daily. Sometimes, more than that. I can’t begin to explain how much his friendship means to me, and I know he’s got many brothers and sisters spread out all over the globe who feel the same way.
On March 1st, my birthday, my only wish is for us to raise enough money to help my friend reach at least half of the cost of the stair lift. Any further money raised will go directly towards the stair lift and other medical and life expenses.
I hope the wrestling community and friends alike can rally together behind Jim to help in any way you can. Any contribution, small or large, means the world to him and supports him on his journey of taking his first steps again.
Wishing love and light to you all, especially Jim. He may be down right now, but the ref hasn’t even counted to 1 yet!
– JP Zarka (Pro Wrestling Stories Owner/Editor-in-Chief)
Jim Phillips was a guest on the Cheap Heat Podcast on March 5th, 2023, where he shared his story alongside former WWE wrestler Chris Michaels and Pro Wrestling Stories Senior Editor Evan Ginzburg. You can watch this interview below:
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