Writer: Linda Anderson, (979) 862-1460,lw-anderson@tamu.edu
Contacts: Jace Beck, Elaine Beck, (940) 390-7681,Kbeck26951@aol.com
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COLLEGE STATION - Jace Beck is an 18-year-old high school senior from the Lewisville area in North Texas. Much like other kids his age, he's into 4-H projects, team sports and outdoor activities such as water skiing. He's been on trips through Yellowstone National Park, and this winter he's planning a ski trip in Utah.

Like other high school seniors, Jace has plans for his college career.

"I'm hoping to go to (Texas) A&M (University) next year," he said, where he's planning to major in international studies.

"I want to get into the DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration) or the FBI or something along those lines," he said.

Jace is a lot like other kids his age except for one thing: On May 26, 2002, when he was 15, he was in an accident that left him paralyzed with a broken neck.

Elaine Beck, Jace's mother, tells the story this way:

Jace and his cousin, Clint, were out four-wheeling near their grandparents' home on the Brazos River. The boys decided to park the vehicles, climb down a cliff to the river and go for a swim.

When they'd had enough of swimming, they got out, dried off and headed back up the side of the cliff to where their vehicles were parked. Everything went fine - Clint climbed back up with no problem - until Jace got to the top of the cliff. That's when the ground crumbled under his hands and he lost his grip. He fell 40 feet down the side of the cliff and rolled for another 30 feet.

"I was conscious when I fell," Jace said. "I could tell my neck was injured."

"Jace has been in (Boy) Scouts all his life," his mother said. "He knew not to move."

She credits his strong physical condition for saving his life. "If he hadn't just come out of football training, I don't think he would be alive."

Because of the location where his fall ended, getting Jace back up the cliff was tricky, Mrs. Beck said. An ambulance with a rescue basket couldn't do it so a helicopter was called in. Rescue workers stabilized Jace on the Brazos River bed, securing him for medical evacuation to Children's Medical Center Dallas. But while in flight, Jace started throwing up. Thinking he might have internal injuries too, onboard medical personnel decided to take him to the nearest medical facility, which was Hendrick's Medical Center in Abilene.

Once he was examined and stabilized enough for travel, Jace was sent to Parkland Hospital in Dallas, where he spent the next 10 days in the Intensive Care Unit.