Most people wouldn’t survive a ship anchor swinging and hitting them in the head, but Caleb Bennett has proven to be an exception.
The 14-year-old from Manatee County, Fla., has been around boats his entire life, but one day in March, the teen experienced a life-changing event while at sea.
Bennett was hanging out with his brother and friends when an anchor slipped from the front of their boat.
“The anchor fell off the front,” Bennett’s father, Rick, told WTSP. “They were driving fast, and when the rope pulled tight, it sling-shot up into the boat.”
The heavy anchor swung and hit Bennett’s forehead, lodging in his skull, CNN reports.
The teenager dropped to his knees, holding the anchor in his head, and asked his friends to call for help.
“I’m probably going to die,” he reportedly told his friends during the incident.
He was rushed to Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg, an approximately 45-minute drive that required crossing a causeway across Tampa Bay.
Bennett’s mom, Kelli, found out while she was at alone on the beach, while she and her husband were in the Bahamas to celebrate their wedding anniversary.
“Needless to say, I kind of lost it,” she told CNN.
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When the two made it back to Florida, their son had already undergone an emergency craniotomy, a procedure that partially removed his front lobe to give space for his brain to swell, neurosurgeon Luis Rodriguez explained to CNN.
Bennett was put into a medically induced coma, and it was thought he may never speak, walk or move his limbs again.
After five days, Bennett woke up.
“I’ve seen things like this but I’ve never seen an anchor, No. 1, and No. 2, I’ve never seen anybody with an injury like that walk out of the hospital almost completely neurologically intact,” Rodriguez said in a video clip from the hospital.
“That’s one in a million.”
It can take over a year to recover from brain surgery, Rodriguez told CNN.
Though Bennett has been experiencing minor seizures, his dad, Rick, says it’s a small price to pay.
“He should’ve died right where he stood,” he said. “Even if this is our cross to bear for a while or indefinitely, it’s better than the alternative.”