LI teen makes miraculous recovery after horrific diving accident at Jones Beach
EAST MEADOW, N.Y. -- What began as a day trip to Jones Beach on May 17 ended in near tragedy for 17-year-old Nico Fiorello.
"I dove in and then hit the ground with my head and then after that I couldn't move anything," Fiorello recalled.
The Seaford High School senior broke his neck in two sections when he crashed head first into a sand bar. Initially he received a grim prognosis upon arriving to Nassau University Medical Center in East Meadow.
"There was a fracture in the bone here and the piece of bone pushed into the spinal cord," explained Dr. Elizabeth Fontana, director of neurosurgery. "The back arch was also fractured."
The looming fear that the lacrosse star would never walk again was something that was real but apparently Fiorello knew something no one else did.
Nearly four months later and two major operations, the teen is defying the odds by walking out of the hospital that first came to his aide.
And, according to him, it all started with a subtle wiggle of his toe.
"I started realizing slowly but surely you'll be able to do this and I started to get strength from the other parts of my body which started getting me thinking, ok I'm gonna be returning to my normal self again," he told reporters Wednesday at a press conference at NUMC.
"Then from there on I was positive and always looking for the best."
"My son is very determined and has been since the day he was born," mother Lorraine Fiorello said. "If Nico is presented with a problem and something has to be done, boom Nico takes care of it, 1, 2, 3."
And that he did.
His family is crediting his miracle recovery to the power of prayer and their faith in God that they say trumped any statistic or prognosis that came his way.
"For every Nico there's 100 patients that don't make this kind of recovery and I hope he can provide some inspiration to people that are really still struggling with spinal cord injuries," Dr. Fontana said.
As far as his plans for the future, the 17-year-old said his tremendous road to recovery has sparked an interest in physical and occupational therapy.