ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — A New York man is suing Universal, claiming he was paralyzed after going down a water slide at Volcano Bay this summer, a lawsuit filed earlier this month alleges.

  • New York man files lawsuit against Universal
  • Lawsuit claims Volcano Bay slide left man paralyzed
  • Incident happened in July on the Punga Racers slide

James Bowen, 47, of Wappingers Falls, was visiting the water park on July 11 with his wife and their three daughters.

According to the lawsuit, Bowen and his daughters decided to go on the Punga Racers water slide before leaving for the day. The attraction features four different slides, where riders slide headfirst on their stomachs on mats.

As Bowen reached the end of the water slide and entered the wading pool, "his face and head hit a wall of water that caused his head to snap back violently and unexpectedly," the lawsuit said.

The lawsuit claims Bowen lost sensation in his extremities as he floated face down in the water. Bowen's wife ran over and tried to roll her husband over so he could get air. Universal employees used a board to move Bowen out of the wading pool until paramedics arrived, the lawsuit said.

Bowen was taken to Orlando Regional Medical Center where he underwent a laminectomy for injuries to his spinal cord, the lawsuit said.

Following the incident, Universal instituted a 150-pound weight limit for the slide. Bowen says in the lawsuit he was 215 pounds when he was at the park.

The incident was also noted in a state theme park injury report released this week. However, in the report, Universal said a 47-year-old man experienced "numbness" on Punga Racers.

Bowen, who has returned to New York, "can walk a short distance" after undergoing physical therapy, the lawsuit said. However, Bowen can no longer drive, tend to the yard, or participate in family events that require walking or standing, the lawsuit said.