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Davenport EMT recovered after being diagnosed with potentially fatal illness

DAVENPORT, Iowa  --  Tonight's Quad Cities River Bandits game is a special one. The team is partnering up with Genesis Hospitals to recognize community members with inspiring stories.

At Friday, June 14th, fans will be introduced to Austin Bird, a Davenport EMT, who is being honored for his incredible medical journey. Two years ago, Bird said he felt tingling in his feet, but four days later he was completely paralyzed.

He had Guillain-Barré syndrome, a condition in which the immune system attacks the nerves. Bird said it is extremely rare and that only about 1 and 100,000 people get it. Bird was diagnosed at Genesis Emergency Rooms.

He was taken to the University of Iowa Hospitals and was placed on a ventilator.  There he was given his last rites, but eventually recovered.

Bird credits the quick diagnosis at Genesis to saving his life.

"Thankfully that was one of the first things that they thought of," he said.

Bird did his physical therapy at Genesis West Rehab center and says they are the reason he is back to working full time as an EMT.

"Genesis gave me my life back and for that I am eternally grateful," Bird said. " I am grateful for all the doctors, nurses, CNA's, and everyone that worked with me."

"At Genesis West Rehab, they did a lot of work with me," Bird said. "Not only physically, but mentally and spiritually. They helped me realize I was going to get better."

Bird now visits the rehab center in his free time to help work with other patients in recovery. He says he should be honoring Genesis at the game, but will happily accept the honor.

Tonight's game is at Modern Woodman Park at 6:30 p.m.

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