Little Elm

North Texas teen severs spine diving into shallow pool to flee a wasp

Semyon Williams Jr., 13, underwent surgery at Children's Health in Dallas after diving into the shallow end of a community pool in Frisco

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A freak accident at a community pool in Frisco has a family from Little Elm in disbelief after their 13-year-old's life changed in an instant.

According to his family, Semyon Williams Jr., also known as SJ, was at the neighborhood pool in Old Orchard Park in Frisco last Thursday when he dove into the shallow end while trying to run from a wasp.

"I suppose there was a panic, you know, a frantic measure to get out of harm's way. SJ just jumped into the pool, but apparently, he dove in unbeknownst to perhaps the depth of the pool," said Louis Camper, Williams' grandfather. “He just recalls hitting his head and he even indicated that it felt as if his arms were not part of his body because of the fact that he couldn't feel."

His family said Williams' friend, who also jumped in the water, initially thought the 13-year-old was floating face down for fun and joking until he realized the teen wasn't moving.

"He turns him over, and that's when he's asking him, 'Are you playing?' and SJ's like, he can speak, but he's like, 'I can't feel anything.' You know, he's freaking out. He's like, ''Help me! I can't feel -- I can't feel my arms, my legs. Help me, call my mom," described Anya Camper, Williams' mother.

Anya said her son's friend saved his life because Williams couldn't move and was taking in water.

"By the grace of God, that is his friend happened to be there and jumped in," said Williams' grandfather.

The family said a good Samaritan, a woman sitting by the pool, tried to comfort the teen while others called 911.

"Another kid was like, 'Are you SJ's mom? Can you come to the pool because SJ hurt himself bad, he can't feel anything, he hit his head," recalled Williams' mother, who received the call. "Immediately, I was screaming."

Williams was taken to Children's Health in Dallas, where the family would learn just how serious his injury is.

"You hear about things like this, you see things like this, you never expect it to be your story until it is. When it comes to your front door it shakes you, that's exactly what it’s done for us," said Anya.

A freak accident has left a Little Elm family in disbelief after their 13-year-old son shattered his spine in a pool while running from a wasp. NBC 5's Sophia Beausoleil has the story.

Williams suffered a spinal cord injury.

"When he(a physician) said quadriplegic when he said those words, that's a different type of feeling," cried Anya.

Her son went into surgery the same day he arrived at the hospital.

"It stabilizes the bones so there's no further injury," said Bruno Braga, MD, a pediatric neurosurgeon at Children’s Health and an associate professor at UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas.

Although he is not Williams' doctor, he is familiar with the case because of his colleagues who performed the surgery.

"He fractured two vertebrae, the 4th and the 5th cervical vertebrae, and he fractured parts that are in front and behind the spinal cord, spinal canal which contains the spinal cord," described Braga. "The fact that he had no motor function or sensory function below the level of injury, that not a good indication that he's going to recover much, but it's too soon to tell and we just have to wait and see."

It's been exactly one week since the accident and the family said they're taking everything one step at a time.

"We are people of faith and we have an army of people praying for him," said Anya. “We’re believing that anything, a miracle, will happen.

It's still too early to predict Williams's future, but the family is coping and preparing for what's ahead.

”The reality is, this is a long road. This is going to be a marathon for us and we have to support him and be with him every step of the way," said Camper.

They've set up a GoFundMe account because they anticipate a mountain of medical bills. Anya, who has two other boys, said she had to leave her job to be by Williams' side.

"It hits at the core," said Camper about his grandson. At 13 years old, you're only just beginning to live, you know."

“As a mom, it's just really heartbreaking; I’m literally helpless. As a mom you’re supposed to fix things, and I can’t fix it. So I’m just praying for help in any kind of way," cried Anya.

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