10:12 AM EDT, August 19, 2014
Brad Smeele was at the top of his game as a professional wakeboarder. He was one of the best in the world and a master of gravity defying jumps and flips.
But in an instant, his life was utterly changed when a jump went horribly wrong and left him a quadriplegic.
He was filming footage for a movie about wakeboarding when it happened. He was attempting to land one of the most difficult jumps ever conceived.
In his first attempt, he completed the trick but lost control after landing and splashed into the water.
So, he went back for a second try. As he approached the ramp he knew he was going too fast. His second flip was not meant to be. He landed on his neck and shattered his C4 vertebrae and crushed his spinal cord.
In an instant, the young daredevil was paralyzed from the neck down.
His mother, Linda, travelled from New Zealand to be by his side.
She emotionally said to INSIDE EDITION, “Watching him go through this, I have to be strong. If I get upset, he'll get upset. I have to believe he'll get through this.”
Doctors say there's is little chance that brad will ever walk again. Perhaps one, maybe two percent, but he's determined to beat those near impossible odds.
Just one month after the accident, Brad is beginning his physical rehabilitation. He endures hours of stretching to keep his muscles limber and his joints lubricated.
He vows that he will one day walk again, saying, “I worked so hard on my career. I need to motivate myself to get better.”