LONG BEACH, Calif. (KABC) -- Los Angeles Rams legends Nolan Cromwell and Ivory Sully gave an 18-year-old the boost he needs as he battles back from a rare spinal cord injury, known as surfer's myelopathy, which left him unable to walk.
"It's that motivation. These guys, they're superstars and they look at me like I'm a superstar," said Devin Gildner. "That motivation for me is fantastic to keep going."
In July, the North Carolina teen was taking surf lessons while visiting his grandparents. After several hours of practice he realized something wasn't right.
"It almost felt like if you slept on a bad mattress with a bar right there, that's what it felt like," Gildner told Cromwell and Ivory.
"Then my legs just gave out on me," he added.
Gildner said he was told was there were only nine known cases and he was the 10th, the first in California.
Cromwell and Sully visited Gildner at Miller Children's and Women's Hospital Long Beach, where he has spent the last six weeks working to walk once again.
"Everyday he does something amazing," Lisa Gildner, Devin's mother, said. "On Saturday, he took two steps independently, and today I think he walked almost seven feet."
"Devin has demonstrated the power of positive thinking," Cromwell said. "If you believe good things happen."
The two football veterans say its Gildner's commitment to his recovery that is inspiring.
The teen's dedication is paying off with major progress every day.
"It's so nice to see because at first I couldn't move my legs at all," Gildner said. "Whether it be a twitch or the wiggle of the toes, any movement is really awesome to me."