By Tim Priester
For 19-year-old Jose Castro, years of hard work in tennis earned him a full scholarship to play the sport he loved; however, it took only a few tragic seconds of playing with friends to cause an injury that could ultimately take his dreams away.
Jose was on winter break from the University of Florida, boating with friends last Sunday when the group stopped near the Boca Sandbar. He was roughhousing with his friends when he fell out of the boat, severely injuring his neck, fracturing several vertebrae — ultimately causing paralysis.
He required surgery to repair the c5 through the c7 vertebrae.
“They were the hardest four hours of my life,” said his father Jorge, who shared that it was a successful surgery.
How successful will depend on time.
Jorge is optimistic that his son will return to running around the tennis court because he knows he is a fighter. After all, he saw Jose make an incredible run at the 2019 Florida State Tennis Competition, which made him the first male from Coral Springs Charter School to participate in the tournament.
Neighbor Erica Brooks and her sons were shocked to hear about Jose’s accident. She said the Castro family had been a part of their lives in Coral Springs for years.
“Jose is one of the sweetest souls we know,” she said. “He is so strong, and we know he is going to recover from this like a champ.”
Originally from Peru, Jose, who moved to Coral Springs when he was five, is the youngest of four children. He graduated from Coral Springs Charter in 2020.
Following surgery, Jose is moving his fingers, which gives the Castro family hope for a full recovery so he can return, not only to the courts but ultimately to his computer science coursework.
To help Jose and his rehabilitation, a GoFundMe campaign has been established to offset medical expenses and other costs.
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