ELK GROVE (CBS13) — A family is waiting for a miracle after a diving accident left their 18-year-old star soccer player paralyzed.
Tony Nguyen dove into a friend’s pool on a hot summer day, but the next time he opened his eyes, he was in a hospital bed.READ MORE: Researchers: ‘Solar Canals' In California Could Save Water, Fight For Climate Change
He just graduated from Elk Grove High School, and now he’s facing a long recovery.
A month ago, Linda Vo’s little brother got his high-school diploma and was finally off to the real world.
“He was on the soccer team in high school and he was planning on playing soccer for [Cosumnes River College],” she said.
But his life took a turn a week later.
“I remember that day it was like 107 degrees here, that’s when the heat just started,” she said.READ MORE: Shock G, Off-Kilter Leader Of Bay Area's Digital Underground, Dead At 57
Tony was hanging out with friends at a pool where he’d spent plenty of summers, but this time, he dove in and his head hit the bottom. Doctors say Tony broke his neck and part of his spine, leaving him paralyzed from the chest down.
He’s recovering at Santa Clara Valley Hospital, where his family says he happens to be rooming with another teen who had a similar diving accident on the eve of his graduation.
“They’re going to be doing rehab together,” she said.
He appears to be putting up a fight, smiling from his hospital bed and committed to moving his muscles in physical therapy.
Meanwhile, his family is determined to raise awareness about the dangers of diving.MORE NEWS: 'The Damage Is Bad': Sacramento Neighbors Fed Up After Wayward Golf Balls Keep Hitting Homes, Cars
“If he could’ve taken that one moment, second back and not dive, he wouldn’t be in this position today,” she said.