Spinal cord injury patients help U-M prevent diving injuries

(upbeat music) – Being athletic and working out was the basis of my life. I needed to be athletic and strong for football and track, and pretty much anything else. I played defensive end and offensive line, and I did plan on
playing college football. I was a pretty big recruit in the state. – [Narrator] Matt’s
football future was bright, until a single careless moment in time shattered his dreams. – It was one of my best friend’s birthday, and we were out on the
water on a pontoon boat, and were hanging out. (water splashing) I dove in and I hit the bottom. It was real shallow. I think it was only like,
three feet deep, maybe, and I was six-three, six-two, 240 pounds, so it was a pretty big impact, and I kinda don’t remember
hitting the ground, but as soon as I hit the surface, I snapped out of it and I
was face down in the water, and I couldn’t flip myself around. Eventually, my friend came over and flipped me around, and I told him immediately,
you know, I’m paralyzed. I can’t move my legs. – Spinal cord injuries
can happen to anyone. Smart kids, smart adults. It can happen in an open water. It can happen in pools. We can fix bones. We can put in screws,
and rods, and plates, and basically do human carpentry, but none of that is
actually fixing the problem. The problem is his spinal cord and nerves that are damaged, and we can’t fix those. Those are permanently damaged. – [Narrator] Three out of every four sports-related spinal cord injuries are caused by diving accidents, and most of these are preventable. This has led the University
of Michigan Health System to make injury prevention a priority. They’ve created a number of
effective educational programs designed to help young
people avoid serious injury. – Our goal is to help them understand what they do that puts them at risk, why they are doing things that are risky, and how to take precautions so that they don’t get injured. Do the types of things
that you enjoy doing. It’s good, it’s healthy
for you to be active. But think about the consequences, and use your mind to protect your body. – [Matthew] It’s not
that my life’s changed, it’s a new life. Like, my old life is
not even in the picture. I think kids should just know
that they’re not invincible like I thought I was. (somber music)


  1. so sad and touching
    May Family and friends always keep you Healthy and Happy
    never ever lose hope
    hope someday doctors finally will be able to stimulate nerves in the Central Nervous System to auto fix themselves as in Peripheral Nervous System.
    God Bless you Matt 🙂

  2. the world is going on mars and finding other planets. why dont they just cure spinal injuries by making effective treatments

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