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Injured firefighter shows encouraging signs of recovery

Yurik Resetnikov

Yurik Resetnikov

Karin Stanton | Hawaii 24/7 Editor

A Big Island firefighter / paramedic is showing encouraging signs after a spinal cord injury suffered earlier this month in a body surfing accident.

Yurik Resetnikov, who is attached to the Kailua-Kona station, broke his neck Oct. 12 at Sandy Beach on Oahu. When pulled the ocean, his lungs were full of seawater, he was unresponsive and medical personnel feared he had severed his spine.

Emergency crews were able to revive him on the scene and he has been at The Queen’s Medical Center since then, surrounded by his family and friends.

As of Tuesday (Oct. 20), Resetnikov, 40, is awake and has a ventilator to help him breath. Wife Lindsay, a Kealakehe Elementary School teacher, remains at his side.

His brother Kyle Teves said Resetnikov – father of two small girls, Mehana and Kona – has shown signs of improving in the last few days. He is responding to the antibiotics and fighting off a lung infection, although still cannot feel anything below his mid-chest.

By Tuesday, he was making strides toward breathing by himself and was seeing some improved movement.

“His arm strength is increasing. There is more coordination with his hands and fingers,” Teves said.

Teves said tests have not found a tear in the spinal cord, but have detected it might be pinched.

“It’s not clear about the actual damage,” Teves said. “We have to wait for the swelling and bruising to go down.”

Teves said the news was mostly encouraging and hopeful.

“Pretty much all good news today. But it’s still a long road to go,” he said.

Although Teves cautioned it’s too soon to know just how much motion his brother might regain, plans already are underway to move Resetnikov to a rehabilitation facility in Denver.

To help the family offset expenses, several accounts have been set up to take donations.

The Gerg Cameron Firemen’s Fund gives the family 100 percent of proceeds to the family, as does Kailua Fire Station. Donations also are being accepted through the family’s gofundme online account.

Since news of Resetnikov’s accident spread to the Big Island, more than $77,000 has been raised to assist the family with housing, travel and medical expenses.

“The community has been super,” Teves said. “I’m a firefighter / EMT, too, and I’ve worked with my brother. But you never realize the community will pull together like this. The kindness has been mind-blowing.”

County Councilman and long-time friend Dru Kanuha said he has been thinking about his Novice B coach and family.

“He’s such an inspirational person. He always said to try your best and be the best you can be,” Kanuha said. “We came in second at states.”

Kanuha said the community response personifies Resetnikov’s positive and generous spirit.

“The outpouring of support just shows how many people he’s touched. His positivity leads the whole community. There is a very bright light shining from him and that sun is reflecting back on him now. People are just inspired by him.”

Resetnikov recently was recognized by the Daniel R. Sayre Memorial Foundation for meritorious service above and beyond the call of duty.

— To donate, visit:

Kailua Fire Station – bottom of Palani Road

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