The family of an Anchorage firefighter is celebrating signs of progress and recovery in their son after he suffered a spinal cord injury while training in the firehouse June 5.
Firefighter Ben Schultz was found on the ground behind Truck 5, a 100-foot aerial ladder apparatus, during a training exercise, according to officials in the Anchorage Fire Department. The injury left the 29-year-old in critical condition.
KTTU News reports that according to his father, Jeff Schultz, Ben spoke a few words Monday — the first words he has spoken since his fall. Ben is currently being treated at the Craig Hospital in Denver, which specializes in head and spinal cord rehabilitation.
“We’re elated. We’re praising God that he’s coming back and we’re just ecstatic,” KTTU News reports his father told Channel 2 in Colorado.
Ben’s father says up until now his son has been considered either unconscious or semi-conscious. Now, for the first time, doctors are considering him conscious. This milestone is an emotional moment for his parents who have been by Ben’s side in Colorado throughout his treatment.
“When prompted, he actually spoke words. He said hi. He said mom twice, and he also said dad when prompted, father Jeff tells KTTU News.
The family tells KTTU News the care Ben initially received at Providence Hospital saved his life. Jeff adds, “That — combined with the care he’s now getting at Craig Hospital for Rehabilitation — is just second to none. We’re just blessed that we have that kind of care.”
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