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Apr 3, 2013 7:06 PM by Josh Breslow

Dunbar Baseball Player Faces Potential Paralysis Following Accident In Water

A baseball player at Dunbar High School in Lexington faces the potential for paralysis after a tragic accident in the water in Florida.

Family, friends, and even strangers are praying for a miracle for 18-year-old Travis Gaines, number 19 on the Dunbar baseball team, who just days ago signed to play with Centre College.

Officials with the Okaloosa Island Fire Department told LEX 18 that Tuesday afternoon, while in Florida with his team to play for a tournament, Gaines dove into the ocean, hitting the sand below head-first.

"He was unable to move anything from the neck down, initially. And then, in the helicopter, they said he was able to move his arms. Just some paralysis from the chest down," Capt. John Brinkerhoff with the Okaloosa Island Fire Department.

Gaines apparently suffered a serious neck injury and had to undergo emergency surgery after being flown to a hospital in Pensacola, Florida.

Officials in Florida said Gaines could be in the hospital there for another week before being moved to a Louisville facility. They also said Gaines has shown movement in his hands and that, so far, it appears Gaines' spine was damaged, but not severed.

The Facebook page "Lets Rally Around Travis Gaines" already has more than 1,000 "likes" and several posts from people praying for the 18-year-old's recovery. The hashtag #PrayersForTravis has also become popular on Twitter.

Gaines' family released a statement to LEX 18 on Wednesday afternoon: "The family asks for your prayers for a full recovery as they will have to stay in Florida for an extended period of time until which Travis can be transferred home. The family appreciates all the community support."

Donations to the Gaines family can be made at 5/3 Bank under "For The Benefit Of Travis Gaines." LEX 18 has also been told several fundraisers are in the works.

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