An Alaskan firefighter continues to make an astonishing recovery after falling from a 100-foot ladder last summer.
Ben Schultz of the Anchorage Fire Department was conducting a training exercise when the June 2017 accident occurred, KTUU-TV reported.
Schultz, 28, suffered horrific injuries, including several broken bones, a punctured lung and severe brain damage. Shortly after the fall, he was rushed to hospital, with his life hanging by a thread.
Despite the severity of the accident, which initially left him unable to talk and breathe on his own, Schultz miraculously survived. But the months of recovery have not been easy, particularly due to the brain damage caused by the impact of the fall.
“People get hurt, and then they get better,” Ben’s father Jeff Schultz told KTUU. “Brain injury is a whole different deal.”
“We were told by the surgeon he wasn’t sure Ben was going to survive,” he said. As Ben lay in his hospital bed, his parents thought that all hope might be lost for their son.
“We just saw a hurt Ben,” Jeff Schultz said, wiping away tears from his face. “Kind of a lifeless Ben.”
Still in a grave condition, Ben was flown to Colorado for treatment as friends and family prayed for an unlikely recovery.
“Ben was in a vegetative state when he got to Craig [Hospital],” Schultz explained.
But just eight months later, Ben’s improvement is nothing short of remarkable: With plenty more treatment, therapy, prayer and support, Ben is now walking, talking and living out his life.
“He’s doing great,” Jeff Schultz said. “It is a miracle. He is a living miracle.”
“One therapist has said seeing Ben’s recovery is why she works there,” he added. “So, yeah, it’s a big deal.”
The brave firefighter is now ready for the next stage of his life.
“We are eight months into the rehabilitation process,” Ben Schultz told KTUU. “And next week, I am starting my independent living and rehabilitation in Omaha, Nebraska.”
“[It] should be about three months long,” he added. “I’m looking forward to it, and hope it goes well. After that, I get to come home to Anchorage!”
Schultz shared that he is even hoping to return to work alongside his friends and colleagues at the Anchorage Fire Department.
A GoFundMe campaign was set up following Ben’s accident “to help ensure that his family can provide for their needs during this time.”
“Ben is a fireman, paramedic, brother, son, friend, husband, father and an incredible man of God,” the page notes. Currently, the fund is just short of its $25,000 goal.
A Facebook page called “Brotherhood for Ben” has also raised an incredible amount of money for the Schultz family as Ben continues with his recovery and treatment:
The amazing and generous LulaRoe consultants raised over $2700 for the Schultz Family in just two days! This would not…
“We’re looking forward to him coming back here and leading a productive life again,” Jeff Schultz told KTUU. “That may take some time, but that’s all right. We are blessed.”
Pray for Ben and his family as they journey on through his recovery.