From wiggling his toe to moving his arms, one Woodhaven swimmer's long road to beating paralysis

At one point, Cooper Eckert could only move his toe a "tiny wiggle." To Cooper's family, that's what hope looked like. 

"Every single day, it's been something new. It's him holding his own blood pressure way before you should be holding your own blood pressure," said Savannah Bennett, Cooper's mom. 

"...(that) has been major hope," she said. 

Cooper's home away from home has always been the pool. As a member of the Woodhaven High School swim team, the student practically grew up in the water. But the challenges the soon-to-be junior high school student faces won't just be setting personal records at swim meets, but learning how to walk again. 

It was during a dive not into a school swimming pool, but into his family's backyard pool when the accident happened. 

"When he dove he hit his chest and his neck," said Savannah, gestured to where he landed. "Right there Cooper came up, realized 'I can't swim, I couldn't move my body,' he started flaring his arms."

Cooper had broken his back and couldn't feel anything from his chest down. 

"I was definitely in shock, it didn't feel real. But once it finally hit me, I snapped into gear and I was working as hard as I can to get everything back," said Cooper.

Since the end of May, he's been fighting to get the feeling back in his body. It started with that tingling "tiny wiggle" his mom remembers in his toes. He's since graduated to moving his arms and legs.

And through it all, Cooper's mom has never left his side. Although, that could be for both his benefit and hers.

"He's my rock. Typical teenagers, they're scared and you can go into depression and get upset - he doesn't," she said. "Every day he says 'I'm going to be ok.' I cry and he says 'Mom don't cry, I got this.'"

In addition to Cooper's progress that's given the family hope is the community support that's shown up over the trying time. Last month, neighbors and friends gathered outside Cooper's hospital room to show support. 

Cooper spends his days doing physical therapy at Beaumont Hospital in Taylor. By Savannah's estimate, Cooper will know if he can walk again within the next six months. But his goal is to be back in the pool come fall semester. 

"The thing that drives me the most is being able to swim with my teammates again - that's my biggest motivation (is) to swim with them," said Cooper.