OCEAN CITY, MD. (WJZ) — Calvert Hall College High School graduate Ben Paepcke is recovering in Shock Trauma after a traumatic diving accident in Ocean City.

Like many people, he was at the beach with friends over the Fourth of July, but the area he was swimming in was more shallow than expected.

“I dove in first, and I realized how shallow the water was, and thought to myself, I hope no one got hurt, and that’s when I turned around and saw Ben face-down in the water,” said Furnari.

When Ben’s head hit the bottom, he shattered a part of the vertebrae in his neck.

An off-duty patrol sergeant called in to the accident and lifeguards went in for the rescue using a technique developed in Ocean City for head, neck and back injuries.

“The guard on scene becomes like a human backboard. That person does not give that position up until the EMS arrives,” said Captain Butch Arbin, with Ocean City Beach Patrol.

Now, recovering in Shock Trauma, Ben’s support system said he’s stable.

He’s had two surgeries and has good mobility on his right side- but still struggles to move his left side.

Throughout the day, friends, family and even Head Coach Dave Pietramala from Johns Hopkins Men’s Lacrosse team paid a visit.

While Ben regains his strength, his friends are creating t-shirts and wristbands to help with hefty medical costs.

They said he would want people to know he’s grateful for the support.

His friends are hosting a fundraiser on July 25 at Earth Wind and Fire and they’re also making t-shirts and wristbands to be available at the event.

50 percent of the proceeds will go toward Ben’s medical expenses. A GoFundMe can be found here.

Rachel Menitoff