Doctors said he may never walk again.
A West Haven teenager has only a 5 percent chance of ever walking again after a snowboarding accident left him paralyzed last weekend.
Aza Topik was snowboarding at Snowbasin Resort on Sunday when the 18-year-old dug the leading edge of his snowboard into the snow due to poor visibility – just enough to tip him head over heels, his sister Gabby Topik said.
When he hit the ground, his feet went over his head and his neck snapped, leaving him paralyzed and trapped in the snow. Aza fractured his C-5 vertebra, his sister said, which is in the lower neck.
Gabby told The Salt Lake Tribune that Aza has always been active, whether it’s skateboarding, snowboarding or wakeboarding. He is also a former soccer player. She said he’s only been snowboarding for about three years, “but he picked it up really quickly.”
On the day of the accident, Gabby said one of Aza’s friends called her parents and told them that “he fell on his neck and hit the leading edge of his snowboard.”
Now Gabby said he’s considering months of rehab and physical therapy “before he can even get home” and that he’ll likely need to use a walker or braces when he can walk again.
“It’s one of those moments that you think could only happen to someone else until it happens in your family,” Gabby said of a GoFundMe campaign for her brother.
Aza had been in intensive care since Sunday, Gabby said, but he was moved to another room on Wednesday. She said he had surgery on Monday and it went well.
Gabby said Aza was in a lot of pain and unable to move from the waist down but “he’s fine”.
“And he still had a pretty good attitude about everything,” she said.
As of Wednesday afternoon, the GoFundMe campaign had raised nearly $30,000 for Aza.
Snowboard and ski safety:
This year, the National Ski Area Association introduced an updated Skier Responsibility Code “to better capture all of the ways to stay safe on the slopes this season,” according to the Snowbasin Resort website.
1. Always be in control. You must be able to stop or avoid people or objects.
2. People in front of or downhill have the right of way. You must avoid them.
3. Stop only where you can be seen from above and do not obstruct traffic.
4. Look uphill and avoid others before starting downhill or entering a path.
5. You must prevent runaway devices.
6. Read and obey all signs, warnings, and hazard notices.
7. Stay away from closed paths and enclosed areas.
8. You must know how and be able to safely load, drive and unload elevators. If you need help, ask the lift attendant.
9. Do not use elevators or grounds if impaired by alcohol or drugs.
10. If you are involved in a collision or an incident, share your contact information with each other and with a resort employee.
https://www.sltrib.com/news/2022/12/08/18-year-old-snowboarder-left/ A Utah teenager is paralyzed after a snowboarding accident in Snowbasin