Louisiana Resident Mark Raymond Jr. Overcomes Boating Accident Disability to Create Inclusive Fitness for the Disabled

According to the U.S. Coast Guard, over 600 people died as a result of boating accidents and over 2000 were injured in 2021.

ABC 31 News Reporter Keisha Swafford has the story on how a Louisiana resident overcame a boating accident disability to help others.


Diving into water while boating can lead to spinal cord injuries each year. To stay safe on the water, Red River Marine teaches us some boating tips.

Red River Marine Boat Parts Serviceman Jacob Waites says, “You always want to make sure you have this kill switch on you. You just connect to your life jacket or sometimes they come with a wrist strap. When you get thrown out of the boat, if it happens, it will automatically kill itself and your boat will just sit there.”


A split-second decision to dive off a boat left Mark Raymond Jr. in a wheelchair.

CEO of Split Second Foundation Mark Raymond Jr. says, “I was not paying attention to the depth of the water and as the day went on, the tide changed and what was a deeper lake became a shallower lake, and when I dove off the back of the boat, I hit my head on the sandy bottom and shattered the fifth vertebrate in my neck, leaving me paralyzed from about the chest down. My family definitely helped me pick up the pieces after my accident and as I was dealing with the grief and the depression, really made sure that I was surrounded by love and support.”


After his accident, Mark Raymond Jr. founded Split Second Foundation to provide the disabled community access to fitness.

“It’s amazing, every time I roll into our facility, I get goosebumps, seeing all the people who quite frankly need our services every day, and are happy to be there.”


Split Second Fitness Participant Ray Walker reached out to Split Second Fitness after a car accident left him paralyzed.

“They give me a chance to be consistent, and when I come into Split Second, we have our trainings, and they help you work different muscle groups to keep your strength up and to help you with everyday stuff like pushing. Me going into Split Second, lifting weights, it helps me push longer distances.”


Split Second Fitness is proof there is still life after disability.

The CEO of Split Second Foundation says, “We just have to find that community and find the people we can lean on that can understand and are empathetic to our situations and help us keep moving forward.”


Split Second Fitness plans to expand to Central Louisiana.

Through donations, Mark Raymond Jr. plans to open a Split Second Fitness gym in Alexandria in 2024.