Retired CMPD officer breaks neck body surfing at Oak Island

Retired CMPD officer breaks neck body surfing at Oak Island

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A retired Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officer was body surfing July 11 at Oak Island when the power of the wave broke his neck.

John Diggs, who works security detail for the Carolina Panthers, was on vacation with his family.

"It was traumatic,” Diggs said. “I'm certain, looking back, that I was in shock to some degree."

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He initially thought he broke his arm.

"I wanted the pain to stop,” Diggs said.

He has had two surgeries and is now on a long road to recovery.

Diggs heard about another freak accident that happened days before his accident.

Lee Dingle, of Raleigh, was vacationing at Oak Island when a wave knocked him down and he broke his neck, as well.

Dingle later died.

"They're grieving, and I pray for them and grieve for them," Diggs said.

Diggs is grateful to be alive.

“I'm extremely grateful,” Diggs said. “I know I'm blessed. I know I'm lucky. When this happens, you get a clear view of how wonderful people are in your family."