Washington and Lee University Swimmer Left Partially Paralyzed following Diving Incident
A swimmer at a Virginia college was left partially paralyzed after a tragic accident while visiting Alabama.
Devin Bateman, an 18-year-old freshman swimmer at Washington and Lee University, was on a spring break trip on Easter Sunday when he went for a swim in the waters of Gulf Shores, Alabama.
The teen "hit his head" upon diving into the water and "could not move" afterward, the New York Post reported.
Devin was airlifted to a hospital in Pensacola, Florida, where he underwent emergency surgery on his C5 vertebrae.
Doctors later diagnosed him with a spinal cord injury and say he currently "does not have the use of his legs," according to his fundraiser website, which had generated more than $190,000 as of Thursday.
Bateman is a native of Fredericksburg, Virginia, and is now being treated at a spinal rehabilitation center located in Atlanta. He's expected to spend 7 to 8 weeks in rehab before he is released to go home.
"Devin Bateman is a loving son, a wonderful brother, a true friend, and a loyal teammate," according to the fundraiser. "He is an amazing young man and loved by many."
Bateman's father said he was surprised by the amount of support his family has received from more than 1,600 donors, including three who committed $5,000 apiece.
"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," Donald Bateman said. "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."
Despite the long road of recovery ahead, the father did say he expects his son to be back on his feet once again.
"For somebody who's actually been swimming since nine years old, you would never think that he'd be in the position that he's in," Donald Bateman said. "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."
Washington and Lee University is working with Devin's family to "provide support during this difficult time," spokesman Drewry Atkins Sackett told The Post.
"We wish Devin a full and speedy recovery," he wrote in an email Friday.
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