Man Paralyzed In Pool Accident Stresses Safety

City: Think Before Jumping Into Pool

A man who is paralyzed from the waist down after a pool incident hopes his experience serves as a stark reminder that safety needs to be a priority during summer fun.

Doug Roof's life was changed forever during an outing with friends at a 4-foot-deep above ground pool in his back yard in Grant County.

"Dove in head first, and I don't know if I hit the bottom of the pool or the other side of the pool, but it jarred me real heavy," Roof said. "It didn't really knock me out, but knocked me for a loop for a second."

Roof said he quickly realized something was terribly wrong.

"I started to get to the top, and I realized I couldn't push up," he said. "Once I realized I couldn't push up, I realized I couldn't use my arms to get up."

Roof broke his neck and lost the use of his legs. He's since met many other people injured under similar circumstances.

"You think you're invincible when you're doing things like that, and there's nothing that can hurt you," Roof said. You never look at the worst-case scenario."

Indy Parks' aquatic staff handled 127 injuries and made 259 water rescues at city pools last year, but there were no unconscious rescues or drownings.

Jennifer McGilvray, public information officer for Indy Parks, said water safety is a priority at city pools and that people should think about safety before jumping in.

"You can have fun in the water, but you have to keep all the rules in check," McGilvray said. "Always check the water depth before you get in. Always jump feet first."

While confined to a wheelchair, Roof hasn't let his disability hold him back. He plays in a rugby league and is playing golf, believing that it's important to stay upbeat.

"You always think about what would have happened if I wouldn't have dove in, how nice it would have been if I could still walk," he said. "There's still opportunities out there for me."