Man paralyzed after surfing on honeymoon tells Channel 2 he was trying the sport for the first time

HONOLULU, HI — An East Point man in Hawaii for his honeymoon says he went from the excitement of surfing to being paralyzed in a bizarre incident.

“We were essentially just out here having a blast,” Brendan Town told Channel 2′s Tom Jones.

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Town says he and his wife, Cho, were enjoying the breathtaking waterfalls and soothing sounds of the ocean in Oahu and surrounding islands.

“I saw sunrises. Sunsets,” Town said.

Then it all came crashing down.

“When something like this happened, I just didn’t expect it to be so severe,” he said from a hospital bed in Honolulu. “At the end of the day, it left me paralyzed from the waist down.”


Two days before he and his wife were set to head back to East Point, Brendan suffered a non-traumatic injury.

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It all began when Brendan took surfing lessons and surfed for the first time. He was in the water for a couple of hours lying on his surfboard, waiting for a wave. Then, at his instructor’s direction, he would pop up and ride the wave.

He had no idea what that was doing to his body.

“I think that is what extended the back and hurt the spine,” Town said.

He felt pain in his back, but at first, he ignored it. Then, a couple of hours later while he and Cho were having lunch, he lost feeling in his legs. He couldn’t walk.

Doctors diagnosed his injury as Surfer’s Myelopathy. There have only been about 60 documented cases of the rare condition.

“There’s really not that many documented cases,” He said.

Town is getting therapy in Honolulu after getting released from the ICU last week, but he knows he can get the best care back home at Atlanta’s famed Shepherd Center, which specializes in spinal injuries.

His mother, Irene Town, said the wait to get him home has been hard. She’s has reached out to Delta in hopes the airline can arrange a business-class flight to get him back to Atlanta.

“It’s been hard. Really hard. But we’re gonna get him home,” Irene Town said through tears.

Brendan will need special accommodations for the 9-hour flight home. Through it all, he keeps a positive attitude. He’s more worried about his wife, than himself. The couple are expecting and announced recently that they are having a baby boy.

Brendan is a well-known mixologist East Point and his community has rallied around him, raising thousands for his medical treatment and to get him home.

Brendan said on a GoFundMe that support from his friends and family is what is keeping he and his wife going.

“I just choose to see the beauty in it all,” he said.

You can donate to the GoFundMe HERE.