Sam Jarmer, left, poses for a photo with his siblings Michael, right, and sister, Molly, on the last day of school in 2019. Photo courtesy of Jessica Jarmer
Sam Jarmer, left, poses for a photo with his siblings Michael, right, and sister, Molly, on the last day of school in 2019. Photo courtesy of Jessica Jarmer
When Sam Jarmer dove into a wave while lifeguarding July 24 in Ocean Grove and partially fractured a vertebra in his neck upon hitting a hidden sandbar, the prognosis was unclear. He returned home from the hospital in November with the use of most of his upper body, but with his lower body paralyzed.

The St. Rose High School junior continues to make progress, and faces the possibility of returning for his senior year at the Belmar high school in September. Paralysis of his lower body necessitated intense physical therapy, which he has continued three times a week at Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation, West Orange.

Instagram videos at #samvincible show Jarmer working through physical therapy – sit-ups, kicking out his leg – and displaying strength throughout.  When home, Jarmer uses an electro-stim bike to maintain lower body strength.

Fellow students of the high school ice hockey community plan to help out during their Jan. 31 hockey game. Jarmer will be honored by the tri-op team of St. Rose; Red Bank Catholic, Red Bank, and Donovan Catholic, Toms River, during the faceoff Senior Night game between St. Rose and Notre Dame.

Game time is 8 p.m. at the Jersey Shore Arena, Wall; Jarmer, a big hockey fan, plans to make an appearance on the ice. Tickets for a minimum of $5 will be sold to benefit a fund the Jarmer family is raising for St. Rose, to make the school more accessible for physically challenged students.

In a November article in the Trenton Monitor, Jarmer shared his advice for youth undergoing challenging times.

“Stay positive. Be patient. Trust God and believe. Believe that you will heal and know that you are never alone,”  he advised.

Donations to the Jarmer family’s fund can be made at https://www.srhsnj.com/support-us/jarmer.