Kirtland HS continues to rally around former football player paralyzed in accident

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KIRTLAND, Ohio (WJW) -- Kirtland High School continues to rally around one of their greatest championship winning football players, who sustained a life changing injury last year.

Adam Hess, 23, says some days still feels like a dream.

"Everyday I lay there and I'm like is this actually legit, like, did this really happen, am I going to wake up?" he said.

Hess said he was at a relatives's home June 28, 2019 when he dived into a pool and realized he could not move.

"I swam in that pool a thousand times, just dove in and obviously dove too steep and hit my head at the bottom of the pool," said Hess. "Lost all movement in my legs and my arms for the most part."

Hess says he doesn't remember how long he was underwater before being rescued by family and friends. 

Since that day, he's remained hopeful he will walk again. On Tuesday, inside the Buckeye Wellness Center, a fitness gym for spinal cord injuries, Hess worked to stretch, lift weights and gain strength with the help of a trainer.

"It's time to do everything I can everyday to get back on my feet and there's no plans of stopping until I do," said Hess.

The first team All Ohio 2014 football player says he is grateful for the continued support of the community who have continued to rally around him raising more than $127,000 dollars for his care.

On Wednesday, his former head coach, Tiger LaVerde, along with friends are organizing a dodgeball benefit tournament. It will go from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Kirtland High School. Donations are appreciated.

"He had 196 yards in the state championship game in 2013 and we won but more importantly he was just a great leader very competitive," said Coach LaVerde.

It's that same competitive spirit that helped drive the current team each time they stepped on the football field.

"This season was pretty much dedicated to him after that accident we were playing more for him," said Joey Grazia.

The fence surrounding the football field is a symbol of the lives Hess continues to touch. "Adam Strong" is visible from the road along with a sign of his helmet #39.

"It's important to get over what comes at you," said Hess. "I think that's the most rewarding thing in life so that's the goal right now and that's the goal for as long as it takes."

Click here to donate to his GoFundMe page.

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