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Thread: Brookfield man paralyzed in swimming accident

  1. #1

    Brookfield man paralyzed in swimming accident

    Brookfield man paralyzed in swimming accident

    By Heather Barr
    THE NEWS-TIMES
    2002-07-22

    McCloskey BROOKFIELD � Good times are easy for Andrew Edwards to recall.
    Growing up with Tim McCloskey, his close friend, was great, Edwards said. They got their driver�s licenses together, were co-captains on Brookfield High School�s soccer team and worked together at Country Kids Play Farm in Brookfield.

    But one of the hardest moments came last month as he watched as McCloskey, 20, struggled to keep his head up after an accident that left the athlete in a wheelchair.

    "To see him like that, I felt like I lost a part of me,� said Edwards, also 20.
    On June 2, Tim decided to swim with friends in Ocean City, Maryland, where he was staying for the summer.

    Tim ran into the ocean, dove over a wave and hit a sand bar, breaking his fifth cervical vertebrae and leaving him paralyzed from the chest down.

    He was airlifted to the Shock Trauma Center at the University of Maryland Medical Center. On June 14, he was transferred to Gaylord Hospital in Wallingford for rehabilitation.

    "He is currently making good progress,� said his uncle Hugh McCloskey. "He is operating an electric wheelchair. One of his goals is to operate a manual wheelchair with his arms.�

    But Tim cannot hold a fork or a knife and has almost no movement in his arms and legs. Doctors have not said if Tim will ever walk again.

    But he has a good sense of humor and a desire to get better, said McCloskey.
    He works several hours a day with a occupational therapist, who teaches him life skills while in a wheelchair, and a physical therapist who exercises Tim�s arms and legs.

    Before his injury, Tim had been a soccer player and trainer and referee, baseball player, basketball coach, swimmer and snowboarder.

    For the last three years, he was a counselor at Country Kids Play Farm.

    "The kids love him,� said Jean Hirschauer, director of the after-school program at Country Kids Play Farm. She said he would play softball or soccer, help with homework or drive the company van to pick them up from school for the program.

    "He was like one of the kids,� said Hirschauer. "He is fun-loving, a comic.�
    She said the children have sent cards and jokes to Tim while in the hospital and are making a video to send to him.

    Edwards also sees how much the children love Tim. "He is the kind of guy that lets kids crawl all over him,� said Edwards. "He has the best personality I have ever known.�

    Tim also worked part-time at Bagelman II in Brookfield and is studying business at Western Connecticut State University. Tim is a 2000 Brookfield High School graduate.

    McCloskey said the family hopes to have Tim re-enrolled at WestConn either this fall or the next semester.

    "Fortunately from his chest up he is in excellent shape,� said McCloskey. "His mind is sharp.�

    Edwards said he is amazed at his friend�s ability to persevere.

    "I don�t know anyone with that much strength,� said Edwards.

    McCloskey said Tim�s parents, Ginette and Joseph and brothers, Brian, 18, Paul, 17, and Jake, 12, have rallied around him. The family, however, declined to comment for the story.

    The McCloskeys are active at St. Joseph Church in Brookfield and church members and others have started fund-raisers to cover medical expenses and the cost of making the family home wheelchair accessible. Tim is scheduled to be released from the rehab hospital in mid-August.

    A mailer is being sent to residents telling people about Tim and asking for donations.

    Donations are tax deductible and can be sent to The McCloskey Family Foundation, P.O. Box 33, Hawleyville, Conn. 06440.

    In the meantime, Edwards and others are doing odd jobs at the McCloskey home from cleaning the garage and basement to cutting down trees and mowing the lawn.

    "Everyday is something new with him,� said Edwards about Tim�s recovery. "What
    will come? Hopefully, the best.�

  2. #2
    Someone needs to tell them about this website.

    Onward and Upward!

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