Fundraiser to benefit Prospect man paralyzed in diving accident

Adam Cronin is paralyzed from the neck down after a diving accident in Wildwood, N.J. A fundraiser is being held Sept. 18 at Aria Wedding & Banquet Facility in Prospect. -CONTRIBUTED

PROSPECT — If there’s one thing people notice about Adam Cronin when they meet him, his mother said, it’s his strength.

So she’s confident, she said, her son will recover from a devastating accident a couple weeks ago left him paralyzed from the neck down.

“He’s a very strong, determined young man,” Kelly Cronin said Friday of her son. “He’ll be 32 Sunday. He’s in the best shape of his life. He works out all the time. I told him from the beginning, there’s no doubt that he will regain and make a full recovery, in his family’s eyes.”

Her son was on vacation with a friend in Wildwood, N.J., Aug. 20 when he dove into the ocean and struck his head against a sandbar, breaking two vertebrae in his neck, she said.

He spent 16 days in a trauma center in Atlantic City before being flown back to Connecticut. He’s now in Gaylord Hospital in Wallingford.

“He has feeling in his whole body, he’s got sensation everywhere, but he’s struggling to get movement back into has body,” Kelly Cronin said. “It’s great that he has feeling in his body; that is a definite plus. He was conscious when they took him to the hospital in New Jersey. He was breathing on his own. They said that was incredible.”

Since the accident, she said, she, his four siblings and father have taken turns spending the night with him at Gaylord, making sure he’s never alone.

Friends and family have arranged a fundraiser scheduled for Sept. 18 at the Aria banquet facility in Prospect, and a GoFundMe web page that has already raised more than $40,000.

As a construction worker and member of a union, Adam has great medical insurance, his mother said. The family’s true needs are less material, she said.

“People are asking, ‘What do you need?’ My only response is, ‘Prayers,’” she said. “We just need prayers and positive thoughts coning this way. That’s the only thing as a family we need.”

Adam, of Prospect, was a standout football player for Holy Cross High School in Waterbury in the early 2000s. Retired coach Mike Phelan remembers him as a swift and strong running back and tailback with more than 3,000 yards in his career.

“He was one of our best running backs in school history. He was just a great teammate, a hard worker, and he was an all-league player for two years as a running back and was just an outstanding tailback,” Phelan said. “Being a tailback back then, he would get 25 to 30 carries a game. He was just so tough and strong-willed, and an outstanding football player that you were so happy he was part of your team and part of your program.”

Phelan said he was saddened by the news of his former player’s accident.

“He’s a battler. He’s a strong, determined individual,” he said. “However he can improve, he’ll work hard to do that.”

The accident has taken a toll on the family, too, Kelly Cronin said, with missed meals, missed work and all the other elements of daily life put on hold to care for her son.

Soon, she said, she’ll need to return to work as a new group is set to attend her Kelly’s Kids farm-based camp for children with emotional and behavioral issues.

“You just have to keep life going,” she said. “It’s not been easy, I have to say, getting back.”

Adam has two younger cousins, ages 12 and 13, who recently lost their father and look up to her son as a role model, she said.

“Everyone is confident this kid is going to make a full recovery,” she said. “With a lot of hard work and a lot of prayers and a lot of determination, Adam is going to recover. That’s just the kind of guy he is.”

The pasta dinner fundraiser for Adam Cronin will take place Sept. 18 from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m., at Aria Wedding & Banquet Facility by Villa Rosa, 45 Murphy Road, Prospect. Tickets are $20. For information, search “Fundraiser for Adam Cronin” on Facebook.

To donate to the GoFundMe campaign for Adam Cronin, visit gofundme.com/helping-adam-cronin.