London, Ont.-area teen paralyzed after pool accident
LONDON, ONT. -- It’s a cautionary tale that no mother wants to tell, but Beth Mathewson is sharing her story hoping it raises awareness around pool safety.
“It’s a different life now,” says Mathewson as she holds back tears.
On Monday, June 7, a tragic pool accident left her 19-year-old son Connor Mathewson-Webster with spinal injuries.
"He got off work early, he went to a friend's, that he's been to before, to swim -- hot day and somehow from running around and playing with the friend's little nine-year-old brother, and playing with the dog, he went into the pool.”
Mathewson says it's unclear what actually happened, but she was told Connor resurfaced unconscious, and that's when the family pulled Connor out of the water and performed CPR.
"They are the only reason Connor is alive...the way they reacted at getting him to hospital so fast and on ice, they all thought Connor would have significant brain damage, and his brain is OK and it's because of how the father and son all reacted."
Beth Mathewson discusses a pool accident that left her teenage son paralyzed, Thursday, June 17, 2021. (Reta Ismail / CTV News)
Mathewson says Connor has a long road to recovery ahead of him. He will remain in hospital until a bed becomes available at Parkwood Institute, where he will undergo extensive therapy for months.
Family friend Tracey White, who works as an ambulance dispatcher, was actually working on the day of the accident.
"We have to get certain information and I asked for the patient's name. And when I got Connor’s name, of course, my heart sank. I immediately reached out to Beth,” says White.
White organized a GoFundMe campaign to help the family with future costs associated with Connor’s recovery. It has already raised over $40,000.
Mathewson hopes her family's tragedy serves as a reminder that people need to more aware of pool safety.
"Have your water safety, have your buddy system, just have your awareness about you.”