Teen suffers rare spinal injury during surfing lesson

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Published: Jul. 29, 2021 at 2:09 PM EDT
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HONOLULU (Hawaii News Now/Gray News) – A teenager from California was unexpectantly injured during a surfing lesson in Waikiki earlier this month.

According to Hawaii News Now, 16-year-old Brandon Louie felt a pop in his lower back when he popped up on the surfboard.

“He knew immediately that something was wrong,” his mother, Eunice Louie, said.

Even though he felt pain in his lower back, Eunice Louie said her son rode the wave in. Once on shore, he dragged his board to the sand and started losing feeling in his legs.

“There was no dramatic wipeout. There was no crash on rocks or coral. No reckless behavior,” the teen’s mother said.

Brandon Louie was diagnosed with surfer’s myelopathy, a very rare form of paralysis triggered by a nontraumatic spinal injury.

“I think it’s best described as a stroke of the spine,” Eunice Louie explained.

Brandon Louie is now paralyzed from the waist down and will have to relearn how to live his day-to-day life.

He was medically evacuated Tuesday from a hospital in Honolulu to a rehabilitation center in Atlanta, Georgia that specializes in spinal cord and brain injuries.

Despite the long road ahead, the teen’s mother says he’s trying to stay positive and is inspired by the Olympics.

“On the second day in the hospital, he said, ‘Mom, when can I start training for a paralympic basketball team?’” Eunice Louie said.

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