GBN swimmer returns to water after injury

Corinne Shaw, staff reporter

Following a severe spinal injury in Aug. 2016, GBN senior Tural Erel was able to recover enough in order to return to the pool on Feb. 3, just in time for the swim team’s Senior Night.

According to Erel, a major factor to his recovery was the support he received from his family and friends, which included a Go Fund Me page, where people could donate money to Erel.

“[The Go Fund Me page] is really just there to help pay for therapy and the medical expenses from being [treated] for so long,” Erel said. “There has been a lot of support through [the page from] family, friends, and the community.”

After the initial recovery time, Erel mentions that the most difficult challenge of getting back into the pool is the amount of paperwork needed to do so. Regardless of this obstacle, he was finally given permission to step into the water once again.

“Everyone was really excited to have me back in the pool,” Erel said. “I was in my own lane doing my own thing. It felt kind of awkward at first because I had not been in the water for so long and I wasn’t nearly as coordinated or comfortable [as before]. The first couple of days was just about getting comfortable, [but after that] I did one or two laps.”

After his initial return into the pool, Erel says he was able to participate in other aspects of his team’s swim season.

“I went to a few of the meets,” Erel said. “I was on deck and helped cheer the team on and I also went to a few of the practices to [help support my teammates]. I went with the guys over to sectionals and watched the freshman conference and the varsity conference.”

According to Erel, the encouragement that he received from his teammates on his return helped highlight the meaning behind being part of a team and what that really involves.

“I knew what this team was capable of and what it meant to be part of a team,” Erel said. “I kind of missed out on some of that because [of] being in the hospital for so long. Coming back and having all that support […] just felt like old times.”