Devastating Injury Doesn’t Stop Teenaged Swimmer
One stroke at a time, Jacob Thomas carefully makes his way down his warm-up lane.
“I’m not a great swimmer, but I was really looking forward to this meet,” Thomas modestly says.
He’s a senior who’s been on the team for four years, but this is his first meet of the year, thanks to an injury that kept him in the bleachers for months.
An avid swimmer, Jacob dove into water that was too shallow at a neighborhood pool in June, breaking his C1 and C2 vertebrae.
“My doctor was like, you have the same injury as Superman, but you were just a little bit luckier,” Jacob says.
Luckier because his spinal cord wasn’t touched. That’s what saved his mobility and possibly his life.
“The doctors were amazed that he could walk at all,” says Jacob’s father, Troy.
For several months, Jacob was in a halo. It even topped off his homecoming outfit.
Since then, he’s gone through rehab and a lot of forced rest, until fulfilling what once seemed an unrealistic goal on Wednesday.
“To be out here swimming four months later is pretty remarkable,” Troy Thomas says.
He’s swimming competitively again even if it’s at a fraction of his former pace, its significance is multiplied.
“At first I didn’t feel very lucky, but then they were like, you could have died,” says Jacob.