‘You never know what can happen’
FORMER water polo star Nick Dempsey thought nothing of diving into the pool on his 21st birthday until he woke up in the hospital.
The now 23-year-old, left a quadriplegic after breaking his neck while celebrating in 2017, has stepped up to spread an important message: "You never know what can happen."
Dempsey, along with owner of rehabilitation centre Making Strides Kristee Shepherd, is now a Summer Safety Ambassador for the Perry Cross Spinal Research Foundation.
"I had no idea what a spinal cord injury involved," he said.
"To me it was just you break your neck, you're in a wheelchair and life's normal other than that.
"So it was a very big shock to me. Being a water polo player, diving into a pool so often I never thought that would be the cause of my injury."
Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate also joined representatives from the foundation yesterday to launch the campaign.
"It brings home the mishap of spinal injuries from being overzealous," he said.
"A person that young, there's no forgiveness when there's a spinal injury."
Around 90 people in Queensland will suffer a spinal cord injury each year.