Tommy Smith recently took up the “Cold Water Challenge,” which is trending on social media, but the plunge into an icy lake would change his life forever.
According to WHP-TV, the challenge goes as follows:
[Right] before you plunge into a body of cold water for no apparent reason, you shout the names of three people you’d like to challenge to do the same. Then you have 24 hours to make your move and challenge another set of friends or family members.
WWMT-TV reported that not accepting the challenge in some cases involves giving money to a favorite charity.
Well, Smith from Sturgis, Michigan, accepted his challenge and jumped into Grey Lake, but he didn’t come back up. A friend who was fishing with her son jumped in to rescue him. When they reached the surface, she told the news station that he gasped and said he couldn’t move.
The water the father dove into was shallow, he hit his head and hurt his spine.
“As far as I know right now, he has three fractures to his neck and is paralyzed from the waist down,” Dee-Dee Taylor, who saved Smith, told WWMT of the incident last week.
“It makes you think how quickly your life can change from one little decision you do,” Taylor added later, saying she saw other 17 people jump into the lake for the challenge while she was there prior to the accident.
On Tuesday this week, the news channel reported that Smith was improving and responding to treatment, though still paralyzed, and would need additional surgeries.
Watch WWMT’s report:
Chief Rich Ultz told WWMT he’s concerned about the viral trend.
“It could be very dangerous, not only neck injuries, but you could go into shock too because of the water temperatures are not warm at all by any means yet,” he said. “I would personally recommend not doing this at all.”