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Paraplegic who drowned in Myrtle Beach pool was motivational speaker, author

Published: Sep. 7, 2021 at 1:13 PM EDT
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MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) – A paraplegic who drowned in a neighborhood pool sought to encourage others afflicted with spinal cord injuries and warn young people about the dangers of drinking and driving.

Christopher Skinner, 40, died Monday after being found unresponsive in a pool off Yorkshire Parkway, according to Horry County Chief Deputy Coroner Tamara Willard.

WMBF News reported on Skinner in 2015 when he spoke to high school students about the dangers of getting behind the wheel while intoxicated.

While in college, Skinner said he used to “party until dawn” and got into a car one night with another person who was intoxicated.

The vehicle crashed and overturned, with Skinner being thrown from the car. The driver escaped unharmed.

“I lay there like a fish out of water gasping for air,” Skinner said in 2015.

For two weeks, Skinner was in a coma. When he woke up, he realized he was paralyzed from the neck down.

Determined to keep teens from facing the same fate, Skinner later became a motivational speaker, author, and counselor.

According to Skinner’s website, he was the recipient of the 2007 Emerging Leader Award from the National Spinal Cord Hall of Fame and the 2013 recipient of the Courageous Man Award by the North Carolina Boys Academy.

He was also friends with ESPN’s Marty Smith, who shared a video of Skinner’s search for a special wheelchair on his Twitter account.

Willard, the chief deputy coroner, confirmed Tuesday Skinner is the same person WMBF News reported on in 2015.

The coroner’s office has ruled Skinner’s drowning accidental.

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