• 66°

‘A walking miracle’

Nathaniel Brummet’s life quickly returning to normal

COAL GROVE — Brooke Brumett sobbed over the phone from the intensive care unit at National Children’s Hospital in Columbus as she detailed the injuries sustained by her son during football practice at Coal Grove. She sobbed harder while relaying what the doctors told her about her son’s recovery process.

“He’s young, he’s strong and he’s determined,” she said. “If you know Nathaniel, you know he’s going to be OK.”

It was early September when a routine play in practice resulted in freshman running back Nathaniel Brummet’s fractured cervical vertebrae. Commonly known as a broken neck, the cervical vertebrae are seven bony rings in the neck at the base of the skull. They are the thinnest and most delicate bones, but are the catalysts for support and movement of the head and neck and protect the spinal cord.

The neck injury spurred the release of a blood clot that caused a stroke a few minutes later.

After being released from National Children’s Hospital, Nathaniel began what everyone knew would be an arduous road to recovery; treating both a broken neck and a stroke. Nobody except Brooke, it seems, thought Nathaniel’s recovery would be as far along as it is less than three months after the accident.

“He’s a walking miracle,” Brooke said. “His recovery is going really well. I said all along he would face this head on and surprise everyone and that is exactly what he has done.”

Aside from the occasional trip to National Children’s for evaluation and a spinal fusion surgery that will take place after Nathaniel’s January evaluation, his recovery is, for the most part, complete.

“He still has to wear a neck brace for a certain amount of time every day,” Brooke said. “He is walking with no assistance and shows no signs of having any long-term ill effects. It’s remarkable considering after the injury he had full paralysis on his left side; his face was drooped and his arm drawn in.”

Nathaniel continues to take medication, undergo evaluations from occupational and physical therapists and teams of doctors.

“Both teams of doctors — the one dealing with his stroke and the one dealing with his neck —said they can’t remember someone recovering so fully so quickly,” Brooke said. “He is still healing on the inside and he never lost his memory or his mental abilities.”

Nathaniel’s neurosurgeons told Brooke her son will have a wonderful, bright future and can even play sports again, just not football.

“He can’t play contact sports but he can do all the things other kids his age can do,” Brooke said. “He can hunt, fish and all of that. I am so thankful for this community, my friends, my family and the churches who prayed for him.”