Benjamin Leclair has suffered a serious spinal cord injury in Orlando, Florida.
The rider from Salaberry-de-Valleyfield, Canada, was shooting a wakeboarding movie at Kevin Henshaw's Area 52 when the accident took place.
Leclair, who has already been considered one of the best free wakeboarders on the planet, was stabilized on site, airlifted to the hospital in Orlando and later underwent emergency surgery.
The 23-year-old is connected to a breathing machine and must remain static and quiet to protect the spinal cord and avoid aggravating the injury. Benjamin Leclair is surrounded by the best doctors, his friends and family.
"With a heavy hit like that to the back of the head, the first risk is brain injury. The good news is that he is conscious, he is aware, and apparently there is no sign of brain injury," explains Brad Smeele, who also suffered a similar accident and is currently supporting Leclair's recovery.
"There is no doubt that it is attributed to the fact that he was wearing a helmet. That helmet saved his life, and from suffering a severe brain injury. I am sure he will make an extremely fast recovery."
The impact of the injury is still unclear, according to the first reports. However, the French-Canadian wakeboarder is able to move his arms and fingers.
"I hurt myself pushing the sport. The biggest thing is safety: helmets and life jackets save lives. They probably saved mine," stresses Smeele.
Support Benjamin Leclair's recovery. Visit Road2Recovery and help him with his medical expenses.
Updates on Ben Leclair's accident:
November 30th: Ben is sleeping well and spending more time alert and awake. Doctors found fluid in his lungs, so a second surgery to stabilize and repair the spine will be delayed. He is also progressively moving his shoulders, and arms.