What happened?

    On July 17, 2005 I was at my friend's house at Lake Hopatcong, NJ. My two friends, JR and Dave, and I decided to go wakeboarding in Lake Hopatcong that morning. JR took the drivers seat on the waverunner, I sat on the back to act as the spotter, and Dave was going to wakeboard. While Dave was strapping into the wakeboard JR and I decided to take a spin around the lake. So, I wrapped the rope up, which was attached to the waverunner, and stuck it under my feet. On our way back to the dock to pick Dave up to start wakeboarding, I lost my balance. As a result I jumped off of the waverunner to avoid being struck by it while it was turning.

    When I landed in the water my arm fell on top of the rope and went through the loop I had made. I was able to untangle my arm enough such that it was wrapped around my arm only once when the rope pulled tight. Instead of pulling me and dragging me in the water the rope "zip-lined" on my arm and cut through and down to the bone. The rope severed the muscle, tissue, veins, arteries, and nerves in about an inch and a half width around my bicep of my right arm.

    JR came back to where I was in the water when he realized that I was no longer on the waverunner. When he reached me and realized what had happened he unsuccessfully tried to help me up onto the waverunner. At the same time there happened to be an EMT, Todd, in his boat no more than 15 yards away. Todd just happened to be at his summer house at Lake Hopatcong on that particular weekend and just happened to be fishing at that particular time. Also, there was another gentleman, Dominic, who was in his pontoon boat no more than 20 yards away at the time of my accident.

    When Todd reached me and saw the damage done to my arm he immediately jumped in the water and came to my aid. Todd helped me swim over to Dominic's boat, now only 2 or 3 yards away and then Todd and Dominic both helped me onto Dominic's boat. Todd then wrapped my arm with a towel and knelt on my shoulder to stop the bleeding. A call to 911 was made on my way back to shore. When Todd, Dominic, and I reached the shore, they helped me off the boat. Todd then continued to apply pressure to my shoulder while wrapping my arm with ice. After being told that the NJ State Troopers refused to fly their helicopter due to high humidity an ambulance was sent to get me. The ambulance arrived and Todd, and several others picked up the stretcher that I was now on and carried me up the hill to the ambulance.

    I was taken to Morristown Memorial Hospital where I was immediately prepped to be transferred for surgery. First, they tried to have me sent to the UMDNJ trauma unit. UMDNJ told them not to bring me to their trauma unit because the head doctor was on vacation and the doctor left in charge felt he did not have the experience or staffing to handle the situation. Then, they tried to send me to the NYU trauma unit. NYU said that by the time they got me there NYU's doctors would not be able to help me given my current state. By this time Morristown Memorial's vascular surgeon Dr. James and local plastic surgeon Dr. Staarker knew about my accident and took me as their charge.


  • I lost 2/3 of my total blood in the water.
  • By the end of my vascular and plastic surgery I went through three times my total amount of blood
  • If it wasn't for Todd, Dominic, Dr. James, and Dr. Staarker I either wouldn't be alive or I would've lost my arm.