Paralyzed skydiver says he’ll walk again

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — A paralyzed skydiver said he’s lucky to be alive after his midair collision at Skydive City in Zephyrhills last Tuesday.

Wing suit jumper Sebastian Leal is headed to Atlanta for rehab after spending a week at Tampa General Hospital.

 Sebastian Leal is headed to Atlanta for rehab after spending a week at Tampa General Hospital.
Sebastian Leal is headed to Atlanta for rehab after spending a week at Tampa General Hospital.

GoPro video captured the frightening moment when Leal collided with another jumper. It happened when they were in formation.

“I remember exiting the airplane and approximately five seconds afterwards, we collided,” he said.

The video shows the camera spinning out of control until it hits the ground.

“I’ve had some near collisions, which was scary, but I had never experienced or seen a collision of this type,” said Leal.

Leal was knocked unconscious. His father said he’s grateful his son’s automatic reserve deployed. Leal ended up on County Road 54, where several people rushed to his aid.

“My next memory is lying on the ground, in pain,” he said.

Leal is paralyzed from the waist down, but doctors are hopeful. The bruises are still visible. He fractured his spine in four places.

The 23 year old has done over 400 jumps and said he’s not going to let this one scare him.

“I love flying wing suits, I encourage people to try it,” said Leal. “No regrets and it’s a great feeling, you know and I have no regrets.”

Leal is hoping to be an inspiration to other jumpers. Doctors said his rehab could last five to ten weeks.

 

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