Skateboarding is a hugely popular sport, but one that can be dangerous. It’s a hard fact that a South Florida family faces every day. Carmel Cafiero has their story and their message.
WSVN — From special parks to city streets, skateboarders and their tricks have become common sights.
Some wear helmets.
Ian De Ycaca: “It protects me from when I fall and everything. I think it’s the best thing that you need to use for a skateboard.
Others, like William Gomez, do not.
William Gomez: “Probably because it doesn’t look cool. But, uh, the other thing is, it’s kinda a bother to keep something on your head while you’re skateboarding or doing whatever you do.”
Tyler Paquin is the same age as William Gomez. He also wasn’t wearing his helmet while skateboarding. He went from a healthy, happy young man to someone who is totally incapacitated.
Tara Paquin: “He has good days and bad days, but on good days he smiles and he definitely is tracking.”
Tara Paquin says 19-year-old Tyler tried a skateboarding trick last summer and landed on his head.
YouTube has video after video of skateboarders taking falls, some similar to Tyler’s. But the videos don’t show the aftermath.
Tyler ended up with damage so severe, part of his skull had to be removed to allow for swelling of the brain.
Tara Paquin: “We’re praying for a full recovery, you know, but he doesn’t move, you know. It’s hard because the damage is pretty intensive. I mean, you know, he damaged all parts of the brain, all four lobes.”
Since then, his mom and sister Courtney have become his caregivers.
Courtney Paquin: “It’s kinda like you would never think, ever in a million years, I would be helping my mom, like change him and stuff like that, but I try to help as much as I can.”
Dad Gary Paquin is a lieutenant in the Margate Police Department. His fellow officers and friends have rallied to help, but it’s been an emotional and financial crisis for the family.
They are sharing their story in the hope Tyler’s tragedy will be a warning for others.
Tara Paquin: “Please wear your helmet. Even if it is uncomfortable and hot. It’s, believe me, it will save your life. You don’t want to end up in a bed, not being able to move anything and your mom taking care of you for the rest of your life.”
Since Tyler wasn’t even expected to live, his family considers his survival a gift. And while he doesn’t even remember the dogs he loved, his sister’s kitten never fails to bring a smile.
Courtney Paquin: “Ty, look your friend’s here to see you.”
And for the Paquin family, each small reaction supports their hopes and prayers that one day Tyler will come back to them.
Carmel Cafiero, 7News.