DAILY LIVING & MOBILITY

Perseverance

Spinal Cord Injury (SCI)

Zack Collie

Overcoming the accident that left me paralyzed

On Memorial Day 2010 I was 15 years old, a freshman in high school. I went to Newport Beach with some friends. I have grown up at the beach so I was comfortable there. When the day was coming to an end me and 3 friends decided to go into the water one last time. We all 4 stood up and ran into the ocean, I dove into an oncoming wave, but hit a sandbar and was instantly paralyzed. Floating face down I was unable to turn my head to get a breath. I prayed that someone would see me, my friends thought I was joking, but when my body started floating back out with the tide one friend ran to check on me. He saved me from drowning. He flipped my body over and pulled me to the shore and got the lifeguard to call 911. I spent 3 months in the hospital learning to be a quadriplegic. I was diagnosed as a C-4 incomplete quadriplegic. Since then I went back to high school and graduated with my class. I got accepted into college and lived on campus with a part time caregiver. I have done many speaking engagments talking about my story and spreading beach awareness. I got my own service dog and have done many more exciting things since my injury. Being a quadriplegic is frustrating and stressful. The smallest of things are the most difficult such as feeding myself and brushing my teeth. But I have stayed positive and only want to move forward. Persevere!

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