Mother warns of diving dangers after son becomes paralyzed

West Virginia

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. (WDVM) — A mother in Berkeley County is raising awareness about the dangers of diving into shallow water, after her son’s life-changing accident more than two years ago in Ocean City, Maryland.

“In my head, I thought I’m going to die here in the water,” said Cody Owens. “Then I heard a splash and they pulled me out.”

Owens, 19 at the time, saw his life change right before his eyes when he dove off a pier in Ocean City. He was home from summer break, after finishing his first year of college. There were no signs showing the dangers of diving into the water that was less than two feet deep back at the time of the incident on June 27.

“I had wrote into the Mayor [of Ocean City] after his accident and they finally posted a sign up on the dock where his accident was because there was none,” said Cecilia Litten, his mother.

It was supposed to be a fun day with his friends, but the dive, more than two years ago, left him paralyzed from the chest down.

“I just dropped to my knees when they said he was paralyzed,” said Litten.

One of his friends ended pulling him to safety when they realized something was wrong.

His mother wants people to understand the severity of being a quadriplegic and being a caregiver as a mom. Litten is Owens’ sole caregiver.

Reflecting back on that day, she says, “to have to see him lay there, was really hard. Even to this day.”

Owens, however, is hopeful, looking at the bright side, to another tomorrow.

He says he’s thinking about going back to college to become a teacher but for now, he’s devoting his time to being a motivational speaker to help others.

Above all, Owens wants people to take away this message: “Find a purpose, keep chipping and enjoy the process.”

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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