Conor Davis still loves looking out at the water, a place he used to spend a lot of time, even though it’s a view that brings back a life-changing memory. 

  • Local man paralyzed after breaking neck while diving
  • Through dedication and work, he's beat odds to regain some mobility
  • His ultimate goal is to get back into the water

“I dove in front of me, it was deep enough but what I didn’t see was a sandbar in front of me and when I dove in I hit my forehead against the sandbar and instantly broke my neck,” he said.

Now he’s in a wheelchair. When it all happened five years ago and he was paralyzed, he wasn’t just told he’d never walk again, he was told he’d barely be able to move again. 

“I was like 'well maybe for right now, but eventually I’m going to get my body back,'” he said. 

He kept getting negative feedback on top of negative feedback. When asked why he didn’t listen to the ominous prognosis, he says he had no choice. 

“I was in the prime of my life going into senior year of college, but then I had this setback, but I wasn’t going to throw this great opportunity away,” he said. 

That’s when he found Goodwill of Orange County Fitness and Technology Center in Santa Ana, and his trainer, Joey. 

“He was one of those cheerleaders and when I wanted to work on triceps or any upper body or core and legs he didn’t say 'lets not waste our time', he just said 'let’s try it,'” he said. 

After working out six days a week for the past four and a half years, he’s actually seen huge improvement with his muscles on a motor scale, which measures zero to five. Five means fully functional, with the general population usually being a four or five. The strength of his triceps went from a zero to three. 

Now, as Davis finishes up his college degree online at Parsons University to become a fashion designer, he’s not just working for a career, and not just to reach a five on that scale - he’s working hard to get back to his favorite place, the water. 

“I do feel like I’m missing out, but the water isn’t going anywhere. When I get back, I will most definitely be back in the water,” he said. 

Until then, he’ll admire it from afar, a sea of blue motivation.