Young golfer Honza Ripa dove into the Russian River in Sonoma County, CA 10 months ago, breaking his neck and nearly drowning in front of his girlfriend and other local teens. The gathered crowd dragged him out of the water and saved his life. His girlfriend, 17-year-old Brianna Angell, has remained by Ripa’s side ever since the injury, a Healdsburg Press Democrat article reported.
Ripa, 18 at the time of the accident, was paralyzed from the neck down after sustaining a severe spinal cord injury from his ill-fated dive into the Russian River. The former vivacious athlete now struggles with a body that can no longer participate in sports he once loved. Ripa’s girlfriend is not afraid of the challenge presented by assisting him in his recovery and remaining his most staunch advocate and supporter.
Angell and Ripa have plans to move in together this coming summer and to begin attending classes at Santa Rosa Junior College this fall. Ripa celebrated his 19th birthday on Thursday, April 22. The couple said they had plans to move in together eventually, and Ripa’s injury only sped things up.
Ripa and Angell have been high school sweethearts since they met in September 2008. The couple’s parents fully support their decision and said that the couple have achieved an extreme amount of maturing in their relationship ever since Ripa’s terrible accident. Angell’s mother said, “It’s endearing and it’s heartwarming. They are the real deal. They’ve done a lot of growing up in a short time,” the article reported.
Angell has spent time learning how to better assist Ripa in day-to-day challenges of living with paralysis. When his electric lift is not working, Angell uses a wooden plank to transfer him from his wheelchair into his bed and back. Ripa still fights the paralysis in his mind during his waking hours and even in his dreams. He said that he still dreams of playing golf and when he is awake, he still has a sense that he could reach for a glass or answer the phone.
Since Ripa requires assistance for almost everything he does, he is immensely glad to have the profound and unconditional love Angell has bestowed upon him since his injury.
With luck and an immense amount of research, Ripa may well be cured of his paralysis in the coming years. In any case, Angell will be there with him to the end, no matter what fate delivers the two of them.
Kovner, Guy. (April 18, 2010) “A journey together.” Retrieved on April 21, 2010 from theHealdsburg Press Democrat Web site:http://yourtown.pressdemocrat.com/2010/04/healdsburg/a-journey-together/