SANTA ROSA (CBS SF) – A Santa Rosa teen who injured his spinal cord when he dove into shallow ocean water at Pinnacle Gulch Beach near Bodega Bay Sunday is improving at Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital, his father said this afternoon.

Carson Pforsich, 17, was wading in the ocean with three friends when he dove headfirst over an incoming wave around 4:15 p.m., Sonoma County sheriff’s Sgt. Spencer Crum said.

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The water behind the wave was shallower than Carson thought and he injured his neck and spinal cord when his head struck the bottom of the ocean, Crum said.

Friends and bystanders pulled Carson out of the water as he lost feeling in the lower part of his body and was unable to move, Crum said.

He was treated at the scene for a spinal cord injury and then flown by the sheriff’s helicopter to Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital.

Carson’s father, Andy Pforsich, assistant chief at the Gold Ridge Fire Protection District in the Sebastopol area, said his son’s spinal cord was bruised and swollen but not torn.

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“He has regained feeling in his forearms and hands (Monday), is off a breathing tube and in good spirits. He’s ready to leave the ICU,” the longtime firefighter said.

Carson will be taken to the spinal unit of the Santa Clara Valley Medical Center possibly as soon as Thursday for further rehabilitation, Andy Pforsich said.

Carson played wide receiver on offense and safety on defense for the Analy High School Tigers football team in Sebastopol, head varsity coach James Foster said.

“He’s an amazing kid and one of the leaders and hardest workers on the team. He was elected captain and is the heart of the team,” Foster said.

The team is playing in high spirits with the news of Carson’s progress, Foster said.

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