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Paralysis feared after diving injury to Lincolnton firefighter

JENNA-LEY HARRISON
Staff Writer

A Facebook page for a recently injured city firefighter has received more than 1,600 “Likes” since family members established the page for him this week following his fateful dive into an area lake.
Adam Dancoff, 21, of Lincolnton, had been boating with friends around 6 p.m. Saturday on Lake Norman when the group decided to anchor the vessel closer to shore and go for a swim.
Unfortunately, Dancoff jumped off the boat and into shallow water, suffering significant head trauma and other injuries, according to Steve Mauney, assistant director for Emergency Medical Services in Iredell County, the incident’s primary responding agency.
Mooresville Fire Department, which already had boats in the water at the time of the incident, assisted local EMS crews with stabilizing the victim and bringing him to shore. Mooresville Rescue Squad also provided aid.
Mauney, who’s known the Dancoff family for years and previously worked for Lincoln County EMS, said similar accidents are infrequent on the lake but have occurred in the past, especially during the summer months. During the spring, EMS crews train for potential water emergencies, he said.
Adam additionally fractured his vertebra and lost feeling in his arms and legs, family members posted on the Facebook page “Prayers & Encouragement for Adam.”
Adam has been volunteering with Lincolnton’s South Fork Fire Department for several years but started as a full-time firefighter with Lincolnton Fire Department a year ago, his dad John Dancoff, an East Lincoln firefighter, told the Times-News on Tuesday. Adam also once worked at the Lincoln County Communications Center.
Family and friends remain hopeful that Adam will make a full recovery but also accept the threat of paralysis.
“We’re taking it just a step at a time,” John said. “With spinal injuries, there’s always that risk.”
While Adam’s currently showing no improvements in his lower extremities, his upper extremities have yielded some progress.
“He’s improving each day,” John said.
Firefighters from numerous area agencies have visited the hospital room daily to encourage Adam.
“His fire department brothers have just been awesome,” John said. “Someone from Lincolnton has been here 24/7. It’s overwhelming — their support.”
Adam has since undergone surgery but remains in CMC-Main’s Intensive Care Unit. He will be transported to a local rehab facility upon his release from the hospital.
“It’s a long hard road to recovery,” John said.
Individuals can drop off cards for Adam at the Lincolnton or Denver Fire Departments or mail them to the following address: 8702 Castle Cliff Drive, Matthews, N.C. 28105.

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