Matt Moss, sports editor of the Whidbey News-Times and a 1992 graduate of South Whidbey High School, is recovering at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle from a broken neck.
Moss, 28, fractured his fourth and fifth cervical vertebrae in a swimming pool accident Wednesday evening, July 10, at a Sea-Tac motel. He and a group of high school friends were spending the night there before flying to Las Vegas early the next day.
After the accident his friends, including Chris Currier and Chris Larson, pulled him from the pool and called 911. He was undergoing treatment at Harborview literally within minutes.
“All his best friends were right there,” said Michelle Strevel, sister of Mason Strevel, one of Moss’ best friends.
He spent a few days being stabilized before undergoing surgery Monday to fuse his spinal column in place. By Tuesday, friends and relatives were encouraged by signs of improvement.
Jan McNeely, a South Whidbey physical education teacher and Moss’ aunt, visited him in the hospital following the surgery.
“He got through it really well,” she said Tuesday morning. She described Moss as paralyzed, but he can move his arms and is regaining some feeling elsewhere, including his feet and his legs.
Doctors are uncertain how much movement Moss will regain.
“They just don’t know,” McNeely said. “But with a lot of hard work I think it will be just amazing how much he comes back.”
McNeely said spinal injuries can show improvement for months. She estimated his rehabilitation period at from six months to a year.
Moss graduated from the University of Washington, went to work for a national sports Internet publication, and then last October took the job as sports editor of the Whidbey News-Times. He was taking a short vacation when the accident happened.
Moss is said to be in good spirits in the hospital, and he’s being supported by a host of friends and relatives. He often has visitors.
McNeely described him as “talking fabulously, and very opinionated.” That was good news for those who know the lively, fun-loving Moss.
Moss has a long road to recovery, but he won’t be alone, McNeely said. “It’s going to take all his family and friends to get him through this.”