Collegiate swimmer left partially paralyzed after spring break accident

Doctors said Devin Bateman hurt his C5 vertebra, leaving him paralyzed below the waist.
Published: Apr. 28, 2022 at 3:46 PM EDT
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FORT MORGAN, Ala. (WALA/Gray News) - A day at the beach took a tragic turn for a collegiate swimmer when a diving accident left him partially paralyzed.

Eighteen-year-old Devin Bateman was on a spring break trip in Fort Morgan, Alabama, when he hit his head while diving into the water, WALA reported.

“For somebody who’s actually been swimming since 9 years old, you would never think that he’d be in the position that he’s in,” said his father Donald Bateman.

After the accident, Devin Bateman couldn’t move and had to be pulled out of the water.

He was airlifted to Sacred Heart Hospital in Pensacola, Florida, where he underwent several emergency surgeries.

Doctors said Devin Bateman hurt his C5 vertebra, leaving him paralyzed below the waist.

“Initially he wasn’t able to move anything, but now his upper portion is actually getting signals and we’re taking every little win as a victory,” Donald Bateman said.

Devin Bateman was moved Wednesday to a spinal rehab facility in Atlanta, where he is expected to stay for about two months.

“He has such a strong work ethic that there’s no doubt in my mind that he’s going to do everything in his power to be able to get up and walk,” Donald Bateman said.

Since news of the accident spread, support has been pouring in. A GoFundMe created to financially help Devin Bateman and his family has already raised more than $180,000.

Donald Bateman said he and the family are grateful for the support.

“It’s definitely going to be able to help with everything that he’s going to need to be able to stay on track and just be able to focus on being able to walk again,” he said.

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