East Hawaii News

HFD Fire Fighter Paralyzed Following Oahu Water Accident

October 16, 2015, 6:17 PM HST
* Updated October 16, 6:19 PM
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A Hawai’i County Fire Department firefighter is currently facing severe injuries after being seriously hurt in a body surfing accident on Oahu earlier this week.

Yurik Resetnikov, a Kailua-Kona native, was on Oahu coaching the Kai Opua Canoe Club for a race held over the weekend.

On Oct. 12, Resetnikov went body surfing at Sandy Beach when he wiped out. His friend, Tiare Lawrence, who described him as a waterman, says the wipeout led to extensive injuries.

“He was catching a wave in, and somehow he ate it and hit his neck, breaking it. He was under water for a while,” Lawrence said.

The wipeout left Resetnikov unresponsive. “They had to do CPR on the beach. Luckily, the lifeguards were able to bring him back, but he is in pretty bad shape,” Lawrence said. “He’s paralyzed from the nipples down right now.”

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Resetnikov was taken to The Queen’s Medical Center, where doctors diagnosed him with a significant spinal injury, fracturing his cervical 6 and cervical 7 vertebrae.

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On Oct. 13, doctors at the hospital performed surgery on Resetnikov to realign his spine and stabilize the fractures.

“They tried to go in and repair some of the damage, but there’s still some extensive damage to his spinal cord and it looks like he’s going to have to go to the mainland,” said Lawrence. “We don’t have a rehabilitation center than treats his kind of condition, so we are trying to raise as much money as we can to help the family out.”

A group of Resetnikov’s closest friends have joined together to raise money to cover medical expenses, including the cost of sending him to the mainland to continue his treatment.

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“There’s a team of us that started the ‘Team Yurik’ Facebook page and Gofundme. As his real tight friends we just kind of wanted to help support him and raise funds for him and [wife] Lindsay during this difficult time,” Lawrence said.

As of 5:30 p.m. on Oct. 16, the Gofundme page, titled “Support Yurik,” had generated over $52,400 in donations. The site has only been active for two days. A Facebook page was also created to update his loved ones on his condition.

“We’re really hoping that once the swelling subsides, he’ll get some function back,” said Lawrence. “A lot of people have  supported him because he’s a firefighter and he has helped so many people.”

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