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Paralyzed teen experiences ups and downs

The Petaluma High School teen who was paralyzed in a diving accident might know in the next few weeks how much bodily movement he will regain.

"His doctors have said that two months after such an injury, they often can tell how much the person will get back," said Maureen McGowan, the mother of Danny Cox, 18. "But sometimes, it takes eight to 12 months, or even two years."

Cox, a 2010 graduate of Petaluma High School, broke his neck and was paralyzed from the chest down after doing a flat dive into shallow water at South Lake Tahoe on Aug. 10. Apparently, a wave from a passing boat pushed his head into the sand.

He was airlifted to Renown Medical Center in Reno, Nev., and immediately underwent surgery to remove a broken vertebrae. He was transferred to Kaiser Foundation Rehabilitation Facility in Vallejo on Aug. 20.

Cox has been uplifted by the care and concern shown by family members and friends, as well as by community-wide efforts to help him. One of the latest efforts planned is an alumni football game between PHS and Casa Grande High School, to be held the day after the Egg Bowl this year. All proceeds will benefit Cox.

He has experienced mood swings, though, as is typical after such an accident.

"Recently, he was pretty morose for three days, and didn't want to see anybody," McGowan said. "But on Sunday, he started to smile again and received visitors, including Officer Matt Thomas from the Petaluma Police Department. It was nice to see.

"Matt stayed with Danny for three or four hours. They worked together on an Every 15 Minutes presentation at Petaluma High School."

Cox still is doing updates on his Web site, www.danny cox707.com, as well as on Facebook and YouTube.

"One day, he told a Channel 2 reporter that he was pretty down, and didn't feel like doing updates," McGowan said. "The reporter told him, &‘It's OK to do updates while you're feeling down.' This seemed to help him."


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