Spike in devastating neck injuries in the Outer Banks

13News Now Marcella Robertson has the story

OUTER BANKS, NC (WVEC) -- Trevor Claar was always an outgoing athlete that never stopped. After graduation from a military school this year, Trevor had plans to join the United States Army in September.

In June, Trevor went to Kill Devil Hills to celebrate graduation with his best friends. Little did he know that the celebration would change his life forever.

Trevor dove into a crashing wave and hit a sandbar, breaking his neck. Paramedics flew the 18-year-old to Sentara Norfolk General Hospital, where doctors told him he crushed part of his spine, and may never walk again.

“He has no feeling or movement from his shoulders down,” said his sister, Sandra Powell.

Unfortunately, Trevor isn't alone with these devastating injuries.

“We’ve probably had about eight or nine severe neurological injuries this summer alone,” said Jay Collins, a trauma surgeon at SNGH and Eastern Virginia Medical Center.

He’s seen more neck injuries this summer season than in years past. Many of them caused by accidents in the ocean surfing, or just by diving into waves.

Trevor’s sister wants to bring awareness to her brother’s situation, and hopes people will be on the lookout more for sandbars before diving.

Lifeguards in the Outer Banks have also been trying to raise awareness about the hidden dangers.

Cody Fisk suffered injuries similar to Trevor’s last month. He broke his neck a few weeks ago, after diving into a shallow swimming pool in Elizabeth City.

“I was face down in the water, and I just remember being really scared. I thought I was going to die,” Cody said.

Meanwhile, Trevor Claar’s family heard him speak for the first time in months. He is in rehabilitation at the Shepherd Center in Atlanta, where he is expected to be for at least the next few months. It is unclear exactly what the future holds for him.

For the first time since the accident, Sandra Powell walked by the spot in the Outer Banks where her brother’s life changed forever. She says she finds it hard to believe something so beautiful caused such devastation.

“It humbles you to see there is much greater power than you in the ocean. The ocean doing this to him has to be something bigger,” she said.

Both the Claar and Fisk families have set up fundraiser accounts to help out with current and future medical costs. Sandra started a website for her brother to update people about his progress. 

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