An Army special forces soldier who broke his neck when he rushed headlong into the churning waters of the Gulf of Mexico waters to save a drowning girl is turning his warrior’s spirit to fight to regain the use of his body.
The prognosis was pretty grim when Sgt. First Class Tim Brumit was admitted to Baptist Hospital in Navarre, Florida. He was paralyzed from his neck down, according to local ABC affiliate WEAR Channel 3 News.
But Brumitt had battled his way into the Army’s elite cadre of Rangers, and he wasn’t about to let that dampen his spirits and resolve.
He has his wife, Cara Leigh, and a 5-year-old daughter and a 3-year-old son to think about, too.
“I’ve been through tougher,” he said, according to the station. “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.
“They said, ‘don’t go in the water it’s storming.’ I dove. My misjudgement 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.”
That’s when Brumit felt his neck snap.
“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.”
He was pulled out of the water by a fellow soldier. Baptist Hospital staff found that he’d severely damaged his spinal cord, and that two cervical vertebrae were fractured.
His father, Randy Brumit, was a special forces soldier also, and continues to offer him encouragement.
“What’s our motto, our family motto?” he told his son. “What the mind can conceive, the body can achieve, right, buddy?”
Although those with injuries like Brumit’s aren’t expected to walk again, that isn’t damping his spirits. He’s committed to work his way through it, just like he did through Ranger school.
The girl ended up being rescued by someone on a boat. As for the sergeant, he says that if circumstances were to repeat themselves, he’d do it again.
A GoFundMe account has been set up for Brumit’s recovery.
He expresses his thanks to well-wishers in this video, posted on YouTube by the Northwest Florida Daily News.
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