Groom-to-be paralyzed before wedding after jumping into pool

Chris Stafford (Courtesy: Stafford family)

RICHMOND, Texas (KHOU) — A groom-to-be broke his neck jumping feet first into a shallow pool, according to his fiancé.

Now, one month before Chris Stafford and Madison Wusterhausen’s wedding, he is paralyzed and family is using social media to bring him hope.

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The couple’s 23-month-old son, Noah, loves a good splash at the pool. So between Stafford’s sometimes seven-day-a-week grocery store shifts, he jumps into their community pool making waves to make Noah smile.

However, what happened last Tuesday left his family near speechless with little understanding.

“We don’t know if (Stafford will) ever be able to walk again,” Wusterhausen said. “It’s just really upsetting that something like this happened to us.”

The couple planned to marry next month on a four-night Carnival cruise with family to Cozumel, Mexico.

Then, one day before Stafford’s tuxedo fitting, he cracked and shattered vertebrae in his neck while landing in three feet of water.

“I had to reach down and lift him up so he could breathe,” Wusterhausen said. “So, then I started screaming he’s drowning. He’s drowning. People came over and helped him out the pool and he started saying he couldn’t feel his legs. The neurosurgeon told me this is insane this kind of accident happened jumping into a pool feet first.”

While in ICU, Stafford told family that more than anything he wants to walk his bride to the alter.

Family responded by starting a GoFundMe page to raise money to pay for Stafford’s rehabilitation and bills.

For now, the couple’s wedding is on hold. Wusterhausen insists, though, that their bond could not be stronger.

“If he comes home in a wheelchair or he comes home walking, I’ll love him no matter what,” she said.