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Diving accident survivor urges for water safety

During the holiday weekend

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Jennifer Crowell and her friends were out on a boat near Big Rapids in 2008 and Jennifer thought she was in deep water.

"I went off the backside of the boat to dive in....and there was only a foot of water," says Crowell.

Jennifer was rushed to the hospital but the incident left her paralyzed.

"Lots of pain, it was very hard to get through many days...but they never gave up on me," says Crowell.

'They' are the staff at Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital in Grand Rapids where Jennifer would spend the next several months.

"The nurses, speech therapists, doctors, everyday they were in my room working and reintroducing themselves to me," says Crowell.

Jennifer now works and lives an active life where she hikes and goes kayaking.  But she's also made it a mission to talk to people especially younger ones about water safety. 

"What I say to kids, adults is you'd rather have a broken leg than a broken neck and I will 100 percent stand behind that because I live it everyday," says Crowell.

In addition to always diving in feet first, Jennifer also urges to limit alcohol consumption and always check your surroundings.

"You'd rather take 5 minutes out of your time to know what is around where you are going to be jumping than a lifetime in possibly a wheelchair," says Crowell.

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