Kingwood teen overcomes spinal cord injury after diving head first

KINGWOOD, Texas (KTRK) -- A 17-year-old has defied the odds in more ways than one.

Ian Palmer had a serious spinal cord injury that would normally take a person a year to recover. Now, three months later, he's returning to class at Kingwood High School.



"I can't wait," he said. "I'm tired of being home. It's kind of boring."

On July 25, he was swimming with some friends when he decided to dive into a pool, head first. He instantly couldn't feel part of his body and knew something was wrong.

"I was in the ambulance and was like, 'Why can't I feel my legs or anything else?' It was scary," he explained.

Ian was rushed to Memorial Hermann Hospital for surgery, and after a few weeks in the ICU due to respiratory issues he was transferred to TIRR for rehab. He says he worked hard to gain back his mobility and is now able to feed himself and do most things your typical teenager would do.

Though he now must use a wheelchair to get around, he hopes to be able to walk again on his own. His advice to others when it comes to overcoming tough situations is simple: look on the bright side.

"I get good parking, good movies," said Ian with a smile. "I don't have to walk everywhere. I get to drive (a wheelchair). Just have to stay positive, (and) jokes help."

But his aunt, Amanda Hardesty, is urging teenagers like Ian to think twice about diving for summer fun.

"Don't," she said firmly. "Go in the pool feet first. Always."

If you're interested in keeping up with Ian's journey, you can follow him on Facebook.

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