THREE RIVERS, Mich. – A 17-year-old southwestern Michigan boy was a promising high school football player before his life was overturned by a paralyzing dive into a pool.
Now, he’s back at Three Rivers High School after 116 days at C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital and planning for college and beyond.
Chandler McBride said he is thankful for the support he has received for the rescuer who saved him from drowning after the accident, the Mott doctors and nurses who treated him for 31/2 months, the members of his football team who sometimes camped out in his hospital room, and the hundreds of people who helped make his house wheelchair-accessible.
In particular, he said he’s grateful to his mother, Monica McBride, 39, who is single and has multiple sclerosis. Each night, she wakes up several times to turn her son so he doesn’t get bed sores.
“I don’t know how I will ever be able to thank everybody,” McBride said. “What they have done is huge.”
McBride was injured at a friend’s pool party June 16.
“It was like a tingling throughout my entire body,” McBride said. “It’s like when you hit your elbow on something. That’s what it felt like. I was just kind of floating in the water. Just floating. I didn’t know what was going on, but I knew something was wrong.”
Chad Cottingham, the father of a fellow football player, lifted McBride’s head out of the water when he noticed him floating.
After months of treatment and rehabilitation, McBride remains paralyzed from the chest down. He has some movement in his arms but not his fingers. A devise allows him to grasp a pencil with his hand.
While in the hospital, McBride got a visit from University of Michigan football coach Brady Hoke.
“Don’t give up,” Hoke told him. “Fight like a champion.”
On Nov. 2, McBride attended his team’s district championship game and was pushed onto the field in his wheelchair to get a player’s medal.
On Nov. 5, he returned to school.
Next year, McBride said he wants to attend college and study neurology.
“I will be thankful forever,” he said.