Niles West swimmer returns to pool after serious crash

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Jack Shimabukuro, a Niles West swimmer, returned to the pool on Dec. 3, 2017. (WLS)

A Niles West High School swimmer returned Sunday to the pool to compete in the 100-meter breaststroke, just six months after being told he might be paralyzed.

Jack Shimabukuro didn't clock his best time, but he finished second and won an even more remarkable victory. His teammates, friends and family were poolside, holding "Jack is Back' signs and cheering loudly.

Shimabukuro sustained a broken vertebra in his back and a broken ankle after being hit by a car while biking home from his lifeguard job.

"I just remember going up to the crosswalk, waking up in the ambulance with the paramedics looking over me."

Shimabukuro was thrown ten feet. Police ticketed the driver for failure to yield.

"The first night I had doubts if I can walk again," he recalled.


His mother Tracy Shimabukuro is thankful he's alive, but remembers the worry.

"We're like, 'Our life could change dramatically right now. We could have a child who can't walk,'" Tracy Shimabukuro said.

Jack Shimabukuro had to wear a brace from his waist to his neck that kept him basically immobile for several months.

"It's been a rough journey but we're so proud he's worked so hard to get where he is today," father Jon Shimabukuro said.

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