A 43-year-old man from Rockmart, Ga. is currently laying in the intensive care unit of Redmond Regional Medical Center after his courageous action to save a four-year-old girl from drowning in a nearby creek.

Doctors say Michael Patterson could potentially spend the rest of his life in a wheel chair due to a severed spine and a neck broken in three places. Patterson is considered paralyzed from the waist down, the Cedartown Standard reported.

According to Rockmart Police Chief Keith Sorrels, after hearing Clarisa Jones shout "There goes my baby!", Patterson immediately jumped into the shallow creek to rescue young Jevaeh Jones.

Patterson's mother Vickie Jones stated, "They said he dove a deep dive in a shallow area. Even though the creek was deep, it was only about five or six feet. As hard as he dove and as deep as he dove ... he dove too deep."

The sheer force of Patterson hitting the bottom of the creek forced him to collide with a rocky surface, which ultimately caused his current condition, according to doctors' speculation.

Patterson had only just gotten a new job as a contractor, and current has no health insurance. To give him the fighting chance he deserves, Michael's friends and family have set up the Michael Patterson Donation Fund by way of a Facebook page and an account at a local bank. They hope to get him into nonprofit medical center called Shepherd Center, which specializes in spinal cord rehabilitation. 

To donate directly to this fund, email friendsofmikepatterson@gmail.com.

National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center's data indicates that 28.3 percent of all spinal cord injuries occur due to a fall. As of 2012, around 270,000 people in the United States were living with a reported spinal cord injury.

Acting as part of the nervous system, the spinal cord is tasked with the job of relaying signals between the brain and other regions of the body. Cord-like nerve endings generally perform this essential duty; however, extreme trauma to the neck, back, or head can result in a loss of communication.

Correction, June 14, 2013: A previous version of this article stated that the Sheperd Center had denied Michael Patterson treatment due to a lack of insurance. Sheperd Center representatives have stated that they have not yet evaluated Michael Patterson for admission. We regret the error.