Nico Fiorello was just doing what most teenagers do at the beach back on May 17. The high-schooler was just having fun with some friends at Jones Beach on New York’s Long Island when he dove into the water — and suddenly found himself completely paralyzed.
What he hadn’t seen was a sandbar in the exact spot where he entered the water, head first.
“I dove in and then I hit the ground on my head and then after that I couldn’t move anything,” Fiorello remembers. “I was just telling myself to move my toe. I couldn’t move anything, like nothing was happening. I didn’t know what was happening.”
Luckily, he was pulled out of the water and rushed to a hospital immediately. Doctors now say that the quick rescue and treatment were the key to the amazing events that have transpired since.
But things definitely did not look good for the youngster when the medical personnel first got a look at him. He had two broken bones in his neck, and one of the sharp bone fragments had ripped into his spinal cord.
“I was like, Oh My God, he’s never going to walk again,” said the boy’s mom Loraine, in a report by WABC-TV in New York. “What am I going to do? He’s 17. This can’t be. Not my baby.”
Fiorello asked Dr. Elizabeth Fontana, the Nassau University Medical Center director of neurosurgery, the same thing — would he ever be able to walk.
Her answer at the time — “I don’t know.”
But on Wednesday, barely three months since the catastrophic accident, Nico Fiorello did indeed walk again. His steps were a little on the tentative side, but even that much completely defies all odds, the doctors say — and he’s not done yet.
“I really think he’s going to be essentially normal. The odds of that are really non-existent,” said Fontana at a Wednesday press conference at the hospital. “He’s a superstar. For every Nico there’s 100 patients that don’t make this kind of recovery.”
Fiorello’s immediate goal — to start his senior year of high school this week, and then to play on the lacrosse team in the spring. After that, college, where he now says he hopes to study toward a degree in physical therapy so that he can devote himself to helping others in a similar situation.
“There’s always hope, always a way to get better,” said Nico Fiorello, who now appears to be a walking miracle. “You just have to believe.”
[Image: Stacey Sager Facebook Page]