By Lori Fullbright, News On 6
TULSA, OK -- A Tulsa police officer, who blew out his ACL while making an arrest last fall, received donor ligament from a person who had died. The officer recently learned who the ligament came from and discovered the two men share more than the same tissue.
Tulsa officer Ron Neal barely walks with a limp, nearly five months after surgery to repair his torn ACL and hundreds of hours of painful rehab. The injury happened while trying to control a mad, fighting drunk.
It was Neal's first serious on-duty injury in 20 years of working patrol.
"I went to grab him and the worse pain of my life went through my body," said Officer Ron Neal, Tulsa Police.
Ron's doctor suggested he use a cadaver donated ligament to repair the knee. Ron didn't think much about it until he received a call in November. The family of the donor wanted to meet him and that's when he realized what a unique and special gift he'd been given.
"I think it's fate. You never know what's going to come day to day. We have no control over that. God had a reason for it to happen and it brought us together," said Neal.
The donor ligament came from Officer Victor Lozado, the Dallas motorcycle officer who was killed last year while riding in a motorcade for then Senator Hillary Clinton, while she was campaigning for president.
Ron has talked to Victor's wife on the phone and has been invited to Dallas next week to mark the one year anniversary of Officer Lozado's death.
Ron is anxious to thank the family in person. He says knowing the ligament came from a fellow officer creates a special bond.
"In a way, very honored and privileged, I can continue my career in law enforcement and it helps the family know he's still serving the public, through me," said Neal.
Ron will be there when a plaque with Officer Lozado's picture is hung in the Dallas station house in his memory.
Ron hopes to be given clearance to get back to regular duty, next week.