INSIDE EDITION Producer Relives Bridge Jumping Nightmare
The dangers of bridge jumping hit home at INSIDE EDITION when one of our own producers nearly lost his life in a thrill-seeking jump that left doctors unsure if he would ever walk again.
Bridge jumping—it's a terrifying trend that takes place every summer—teenagers and even adults plunging from outrageous heights into the dangerous waters below all for the adrenaline rush. INSIDE EDITION found videos of these death-defying leaps posted all over the internet.
In one video, a man climbs up and across the beams of a towering bridge as his friend eggs him on. He then pitches himself off into the murky river below, yet swims away unscathed. But others aren't as lucky.
In other videos, two cliff jumpers were actually knocked out from the force of their body's collision with the water.
During the clip you can hear bystanders screaming. One witness yells: 'Oh my God, she's knocked out."
And another group of young men actually hit the cliff itself when they jumped.
Despite the intense drops, all of the jumpers survived, including one thrill-seeker who crashed into wires suspended below the bridge.
But too often these reckless jumps end with tragic consequences. Those consequences hit close to home at INSIDE EDITION when we learned one of our producers, Charlie McLravy, nearly died after plunging off a bridge near Yosemite National Park in California.
"The moment I jumped, my entire life changed in an instant. We thought it was going to be fun and it just turned into a disaster," said McLravy.
McLravy was on a houseboat with friends and family when they spotted the daunting bridge.
"The three of us climbed up the side. I remember peering over and being like, holy cow, this is high," said McLravy.
The bridge stands nearly 100 feet high, but they jumped anyway. A picture was snapped just seconds before McLravy slammed into the water below.
And if you hit the water wrong, jumping off the bridge into the lake below is like jumping off a ten-story building and landing onto concrete.
"As soon as I made contact with the water I knew something was instantly wrong. I couldn't feel anything below my waist. I was screaming, ‘Help! Help!,' " said McLravy.
While the others landed with no problem, McLravy shattered a vertebra on impact. His back broken, doctors told him he may never walk again.
McLravy recalls, "Having to process those words, there are no words to express that. It's the lowest I've ever been."
A team of surgeons had to remove one of his ribs to access his almost severed spinal cord. They then inserted screws and rods in order to fuse his vertebrae back together. His mom, Anne Detamore, documented his grueling recovery.
McLravy left the hospital in a wheelchair and spent an additional three weeks at a spinal cord rehab center in Santa Clara, California, where he would slowly learn to walk again.
His cousin, who jumped with him, was by his side the day he walked out of the hospital.
"Look at Charlie walking!" exclaimed his mom.
But his recovery didn't end there.
McLravy was transferred to the Rehab Institute of Michigan, where he spent another two full months practicing his walking while encased in a plastic turtle shell.
"He's lucky to be alive for sure, but he's lucky he's not paralyzed," said Manhattan chiropractor Dr. Craig Jacobs, one of the many doctors that continues to oversee McLravy's care.
Today, McLravy still deals with constant back pain and endures weekly rehab visits where he continues to try and strengthen his legs using state of the art vibration therapy and an anti-gravity treadmill. And so far, it's helping.
"You really need to think before you do some of these crazy activities," commented Dr. Jacobs.
"It feels like I'm walking how I used to walk before the accident," said McLravy.
For the first time, McLravy went with INSIDE EDITION's Jim Moret back to that bridge where his life changed forever.
"I mean look at this [bridge]. What were you thinking?" asked Moret.
"I've done a lot of dumb things in my life, but this was by far the stupidest," said McLravy.
But seeing it again wasn't easy.
"I've come through so much. Going from you may never walk again, to getting out of the wheel chair, to getting out of crutches, and all because of this stupid bridge. And here I am back here and it's tough," McLravy tearfully explained.
He now wants his journey to be a cautionary tale to anyone thinking the thrill might be worth it.
"It looks like a hell of a thing to do, it was, but I paid the consequences and I deal with that every day of my life now. So don't do it!" said McLravy.
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