San Diego native and college tennis star paralyzed in Texas car crash – NBC 7 San Diego
A devastating car crash has left a local tennis star paralyzed from the waist down. Now his family is hoping the community can help them afford a ‘miracle’ treatment.
The accident happened in early April as 20-year-old Ivan Smith was on his way to tennis practice at the University of the Incarnate Word in San Antonio, Texas. He was not wearing a seatbelt when he collided with another car, his brother Kevin Smith told NBC 7.
The Smith family spent a lot of time at the Balboa Tennis Club, training and working. Kevin Smith may be 30 years older than his brother Ivan, but their love for tennis has brought them together. They are both competitive, leading Ivan to a world ranking.
“He’s so talented and he’s an amazing tennis player. That’s the last thing you would expect to happen to him,” Kevin said. “When he hit the airbags, that’s when he broke all his ribs and everything here. His aorta was damaged. His lungs collapsed.
And perhaps worst of all, Ivan’s spine was severed, according to Kevin. He added that doctors don’t believe Ivan will ever walk again. The family has yet to break the news to Ivan, who is still recovering in a Texas hospital.
“If anyone can get away with it, it’s going to be him just because of the competitiveness,” Kevin said.
The family has raised money with the help of the community in hopes of finding the best, most advanced treatments.
“Kind of a miracle that not only helps him, but also helps other people in the same situation,” Kevin said.
Kevin believes Ivan will win the toughest match of his life thanks to the determination and will to win he showed on the tennis court.