HOUSTON An Astros draft pick from San Jacinto is continuing to rehabilitate at TIRR Memorial Hermann after injuring his spine while swimming in May.

Buddy Lamothe was swimming in the San Marcos area when he lost his sunglasses in the water. He dove in a shallow spot to try and retrieve them and injured his spine.

I dove back in and everything went black, said Lamothe. I couldn t move my legs and my arms weren t working well.

It was a career-ending injury, and one that happens quite often this time of year.

Doctors at TIRR say the number of young people who suffer spinal cord injuries from diving and swimming always increases during the summer.

Unfortunately they hurt the cervical spine which, is in the neck area, said Dr. Berliner. They lose hand function, arm function and leg function.

Now Lamothe, who seemed destined for a life as a professional athlete, rolls around in a wheelchair.

After I got hurt I thought, there goes my shot.

But as a gesture of goodwill the Astros selected him in the 40th round of the 2011 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft.

We didn t do it for the notoriety, said Astros general manager Ed Wade. We thought it would be something that would pick the kid s spirits up and make him feel good. It s something he can talk about for the rest of his life.

Before suffering his accident, the Vermont native had a 0.86 ERA for the Gators.

We just thought that this was an opportunity to have a young man, who has dedicated his life to baseball, have the opportunity to say Hey, a major league team thought enough about me to take me in the draft , said Wade. It s something he can take from this day forward.

So now Lamothe works even harder at physical therapy, hoping one day he may walk.

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