Fund is established for injured athlete
Bryan Jones, a former Monte Vista High soccer player, was paralyzed in a diving accident in Florida

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BRYAN JONES FUND
The tax-deductible fund for Jones is called NTAF Spinal Cord Injury. Checks (put "to the attention of Bryan Jones") can be sent to 442 Diablo Road, Danville, CA. 94526. The family will also accept donations of frequent-flyer miles to help cover its trips to Atlanta.
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By Kyra Kitlowski
TIMES STAFF WRITER


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DANVILLE -- A fund has been established to help the family of Bryan Jones pay for his rising medical bills.

Jones, 18, is a former Monte Vista High soccer star recently paralyzed after diving off a Pensacola, Fla., pier into a shallow canal.

Doctors have told family members there is a possibility Jones could remain a quadriplegic, and that medical bills could exceed $300,000 to $400,000 each year for his care.

Jones was on vacation before he was to attend San Jose State, where he had a full scholarship to play soccer. His family said he was drinking with friends when the accident occurred.

Jones' mother, Michelle Faddis, said her son has his good and bad days. But the doctors and therapists at the Atlanta spinal cord injury center, where Jones is staying, don't settle for anything less than 100 percent of their patients' effort in recovering.

"We're going to kick this in the butt," Faddis said after a long day with the center's staff. "I still have a lot of hope, but I would love a miracle."

Brad Jones, Bryan's father, said he is relieved how much better his son looks after being taken to the Atlanta center, which cares solely for patients with spinal cord injuries. He has been taken off many of the painkillers, and this week Jones is scheduled to have a tracheotomy to help him breathe on his own.

"Then he can eat and speak," Brad Jones said.

He and his wife, Louise Jones, who live in Danville, said it is now important for them to get the word out about the dangers of drinking and diving.

"We always hear about drinking and driving, but drinking and diving is just as deadly," Louise Jones said.

According to the Spinal Injury Information Network, 850 spinal cord injuries result from diving accidents each year.

In 1997, the University of Alabama at Birmingham completed a study using a sample of 341 victims of swimming accidents enrolled in the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center database since 1973. Fifty-seven percent of those accidents involved people diving into water less than 4 feet deep; alcohol use contributed to 44 percent of the 341 incidents.

"Where there's water there's going to be diving ... and accidents," Louise Jones said.

To send personal letters to Jones, write to: Bryan Jones, c/o Shepherd Center, 2020 Peach Tree Road NW, Atlanta, GA 30309.

Reach Kyra Kitlowski at 925-743-2219 or kkitlowski@cctimes.com