North Bay high-school athlete hopeful after suffering spinal injury

Friday night football in the North Bay had an added feature: the number "13" plastered on helmets and posters, and worn on wristbands, to support an injured player from Sebastopol.

One week ago, 17-year- old Carson Pforsich was catching passes for Analy High School.

This Friday night, his younger sister Kelsie was on the field for the coin toss, wearing her brother's jersey, standing in for him as one of the varsity team captains.

Carson severely injured his neck and spinal cord in a swimming accident Sunday.

"As soon as I hit my head on the ground, I was paralyzed, I couldn't move," he told KTVU from his hospital bed at Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital.  

Carson was with friends, when he dove into a wave near Bodega Bay, that was shallower than he realized.  

"I've done it plenty of times before and been fine, so it was just weird, " he said. 
Carson's family has been by his bedside ever since.

"Yeah, I was 100 percent scared, to see my son like that," shared his mother Andrea Pforsich, tearful at the memory.

At first, Carson had no sensation from the chest down, then he regained some movement in his arms.

Tuesday, he could feel his mom scratching his belly, and on Friday was optimistic about another new sensation.

"When they wipe me down with a cloth, I can feel the cloth rubbing on my back," he said. 

The same day he was airlifted off the beach, Carson underwent a three hour operation to re-allign his spine, which was swollen but not severed. And he woke from surgery asking about football.

"I had Marshawn Lynch in my fantasy football team, and I had to make sure he did all right," smiled Carson.

"He lifts me up every day, with his attitude and his charm, his wit and his resolve to get through this," said mom Andrea.  

A Gofundme has been established to help the family with Carson's long-term recovery. 

At his school, classmates fill banners with messages for him, and more than 100 visitors have flocked to the ICU.

Carson's coach calls him the heart of the team.

"He won't stop, he'll do whatever it takes to make sure he's back at 100 percent again," Analy High Football Coach James Foster told KTVU.

But when Foster visits?

"We just talk football, he loves talking football all the time and that's just what we do," admitted Foster.

When the team came to visit, crowding into the chapel, Carson reassured them, he feels lucky.

He reminded them, how his teammate pulled him from the ocean before he drowned, and how an off-duty paramedic was passing and helped stabilize his neck and guide the Sonoma County Sheriff's helicopter Henry 1 to the exact location.

Then, when he arrived at Memorial Hospital, a neurosurgeon who wasn't even on-call happened to be there and stayed to perform his surgery.

"A while bunch of things went his way that day," father Andy Pforsich told KTVU, "and that's the way he's viewed this from the beginning. I've not heard a bit of pity from him."

Carson knows football is in his past, as he heads next to a rehabilitation hospital in Santa Clara for at least a month of physical therapy. But he says his Analy Tigers will inspire him, as they did when he laid paralyzed on the beach.

"I was thinking about my team and they were pulling me through it," Carson said firmly, "and I just want to keep fighting, get back to how I was supposed to be. I've heard stories about people who had the same injury I have and they made full recoveries and that just keeps my hopes up."