A ‘brilliant’ student has been left paralysed from the neck down after he dived into a lake and smashed his head on the rocky bottom.
Exeter University student Gerard Murphy may never walk again after he broke his neck and fractured his spine after diving into the lake in Sweden in July.
The 22-year-old, from Hertfordshire, was left critically injured after misjudging the depth of the water and dragged from the water by his horrified friends.
Gerard Murphy is pictured here recovering in hospital with his friends Abi and Alex Jundi
The 22-year-old, from Hertfordshire, was enjoying a dream summer break in Sweden when he was critically injured after misjudging the lake’s depth
Sports-mad Gerard had emergency surgery in Sweden and was airlifted to Lister Hospital at Stevenage two weeks later before being transferred to a specialist spinal injury unit at Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Cambridge.
Gerard, who is studying Arabic and geography at Exeter University, is now having intensive rehabilitation for paralysis of his legs, wrists and hands.
The Liverpool FC fan has been left unable to use his arms and legs and been forced to put his degree on hold.
His friends have had to set him up with voice recognition on his iPad so that he can watch TV in hospital.
His best friend Alex Jundi said: ‘Despite the horror of the accident, Gerard remains his positive, upbeat self, and is determined to make as much progress as possible.
‘Gerard’s the most amazing guy. He has the ability to capture a room with his jokes – he is extremely intelligent and so positive.
‘When Gerard left Lister Hospital the nurses all cried – and that’s just testament to how well-liked and warm he is.’
Gerard, who has been left unable to move his arms and legs, is pictured here surrounded by his friends as he begins his recovery
Now Alex has set up a JustGiving crowdfunding page to help buy Gerard vital equipment and fund long-term care as he battles to piece his life back together.
His appeal has already been shared more than 1,000 times on Facebook and has raised more than £42,000 of its £100,000 target.
‘The accident has naturally had a seismic effect on Gerard’s life, as well as the lives of his friends and family,’ Alex added.
‘I set up the JustGiving page to help pay for all the things he will need in the future.
‘This could be a wheelchair, adjustments to his accommodation, technology or anything else.
‘We don’t fully know what Gerard is going to need until he has spent a month at Stoke Mandeville.
‘But he will definitely need lots of support, regular care and specially adapted equipment. He cannot use his arms or legs.
‘He intends to complete the final year of his degree when the time is right.’