HANAHAN, S.C. (WCBD) – Five years ago at the age of 15 Chad Waldrop picked up a new sport and started swimming for West Ashley High School.

“It’s his life. It really is. He loves it. He took to it right away and it became his life,” said his father Jerry Waldrop, but now Chad is putting that passion on hold as he fights for his life.

His Dad Jerry just wants to take away the pain of his son.

“The thought of him not being able to swim again just hurts, hurts,” said Jerry.

On Saturday, September 18th both Jerry and Chad’s life changed in a matter of five seconds.

“It’s just, it’s just, you know, to think you almost lost your kid and you want to do everything for him, you want to be there for him. It’s your worst nightmare. It really is,” said Jerry.

Police say Chad walked out the back door of his house in Minnesota where he attended school at St. Cloud State University to the sounds of a woman screaming. Reports state she appeared to be in a fight with a man. Moments later Waldrop was slammed to the ground, punched repeatedly, and knocked out.

“Just by the witnesses and what they told me it was really unprovoked and unwarranted and just evil, evil,” said Jerry.

The suspect Ezaya Oropeza is a wrestler at the university and is now charged with assault 3rd degree and could face five years in prison.

“Why, why, why? He’s a good kid. He doesn’t deserve this,” said Jerry.

Chad suffered a concussion, multiple fractures in his face, and cuts in his mouth.

“Basically, it looks like a jigsaw puzzle. It’s all broken,” said Jerry and now the family is demanding justice.

“It tears you up. I just I can’t. I want to take it away from him. I want the pain. Give me the pain. I don’t want my child to have that,” said Jerry.

Chad’s family has set up a GoFundMe, as well as a page dedicated to holding accountable those responsible. Click here for more information.