Wednesday, August 5, 2015
The same grit that made him dive in is now helping him beat the odds in his recovery. Sergeant First Class Tim Brumit was paralyzed from the neck down when he arrived at Baptist Hospital.
The medical outlook was grim. It wasn't clear if he would regain any use of his limbs. But Brumit is an Army Ranger, a member of the 7th Special Forces Group, and nobody is telling him no.
Brumit said, "I've been through tougher. This is not gonna set me back." He's deployed 11 times in 12 years.
Sergeant First Class Tim Brumit acts instinctively in a crisis. On Saturday, the calm waters of Crab Island were churned up by a storm. He heard screams that a girl was drowning.
He remembers, "They said don't go in the water it's storming, I dove. My misjudgment was that the wave moved out of the way and turned into a foot of water probably, and soon as I went, I'm 6'4, so I went in the water, hit my head first, and I'm like, oh I'm done" Brumit felt his neck break. He said, "As soon as I hit I heard a crack, a crunch and I knew it was broken, I couldn't move my hands or legs, and I was conscious, no pain at all. I was just like well if I don't have anyone see this, I'm not getting out of the water, I tried my best."
A fellow soldier pulled him out of the water. Two cervical vertebrae were broken; his spinal cord was severely damaged.
His father Randy is by his side, offering encouragement, "What's our motto, our family motto? What the mind can conceive, the body can achieve, right buddy?" Randy Brumit was a Special Forces soldier too.
Now, the whole family is on a mission. Tim wasn't sure what his kids would think, but to them, he's still just dad. Brumit said "All they cared about was the visible scars, they said is that a boo boo, I'm like yeah, it's a little boo boo you know. I said "look I can move this", I said "Daddy can't walk yet, Ok, I said I love you so much and I've got to be strong you know, I want to do that for them."
People with this type of injury aren't expected to walk. But Brumit says he's not even worried about it. He said "Like in the Army selections or schools I go to, many men try, many men fail. If he can do it, why can I not do it. I'll be going for a record time, for sure"
The drowning girl was rescued by someone on another boat. And despite the road that's now ahead of him, Tim Brumit says he wouldn't hesitate to dive into that water again.
A GoFundMe page has been set up to help with Tim's recovery.