Man Paralyzed After Diving Into Creek to Save Girl From Drowning

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jun 14, 2013   |   3:55PM   |   Rome, GA

The Biblical admonition tells us that real love is displayed when someone is willing to give up their life for a friend. Michael Patterson displayed that kind of courage when he saw 4-year-old Javea struggling in a river to stay alive.

Without a moment’s hesitation, Patterson dove into the water to save her, almost at the cost of his own life. The little girl was able to be saved but Patterson was paralyzed from the chest down after hitting the water, according to reports.

Carlissa Jones, Javea’s mother, described Patterson’s brave but tragic dive. From

“He jumped in head first and after I grabbed her, I looked back and he was floating on top of the water,” Jones said.

Though the water in the river was moving fast, the stream bed was very shallow and rocky. Patterson broke his neck the moment he hit the water.

Ambulance workers rushed Patterson to the hospital where he continues to rest in the intensive care unit.

Patterson’s dive marked the second time in as many weeks that he stepped in to save a life, according to The Cedartown Standard. Two weeks ago, Patterson and another man pulled a truck driver from his cab after it had been hit and caught fire.

“He said he did what he thought, what he hoped anyone else would have done for him. That’s not a very common thing anymore, for anyone to care about someone they don’t know,” his mother told

Patterson has no insurance and his family has created a Facebook page where people can go to help.