By Angela Keen
HONOLULU (KHNL) - A split second jump off of the popular "Wall" in Waikiki changes the life of a potential football star forever. It's a heart wrenching story we discovered through a Talk Story email. We follow former Damien football player Chad Kolomalu as he faces the future.
Almost every day, dare devils of all ages jump off of "the Wall" in Waikiki. It's something 15 year old Chad Kolomalu smiles about when he remembers his fateful jump at that favorite swimming spot last June 2nd.
Chad went to Waikiki that day to visit a friend. He and his friends decided to take a dive at "The Wall". "We both did one jump first, so we knew it was okay."
However, his second jump proved to be nearly fatal. "I just did the jump and then kind of over rode it, it's called a suicide bomb", Chad's friend Christyen Flores was with him. Christyen jumped in and saved his life.
Christyen said, "At first I thought he was just playing a joke on us he does that a lot and he was down there for a very long time and I realized he wasn't playing around. So, I jumped in and I pulled him up".
For the past six months, Chad has been going through intensive rehabilitation at Craig Hospital in Denver. Leaving behind his football dream. And, instead of learning how to live his life as a quadriplegic. It's the kind of challenge that would drive most people toward depression and frustration but not Chad.
His Mother Jan Kolomalu said, "I think it's harder for me to accept it. That he is injured and he is unable to move". Talking about Chad's positive attitude brought Jan to tears.
She says he took on the challenge with tenacity and a smile. "He is much more accepting much more tolerant his bad days are few and because of him my bad days are fewer", she explained.
After completing months of rehab in Denver, he is back home in Hawaii with intense, round the clock care. But Chad does not sit still in his wheelchair. We followed him as he took his wheelchair out for a stroll in the neighborhood. "I can go 10 miles an hour", he laughed.
His friend Christyen said, "He's showing me that if he can deal with all of this stuff and keep a happy face on and he can do anything".
Chad says he may be less able than others, but he says he's not handicapped.