An improbable walk

By on June 7, 2017
Nasir “Jadon” Pfautz’s recovery from a severe vehicle accident last fall served as an inspiration to everyone. Photo by Jeremy Bischoff

Nasir “Jadon” Pfautz’s recovery from a severe vehicle accident last fall served as an inspiration to everyone. Photo by Jeremy Bischoff

Jadon Pfautz knew just what to do.

After all, he was in a similar, if almost identical situation back in January.

So when Pfautz and his family visited Brendan Holbritter in his hospital room two days after the latter suffered a traumatic brain injury in an accident in late April, Pfautz led his family and the Holbritters in prayer.

The power of prayer.

The Holbritters are convinced it played a big part in their son’s amazing recovery (he’s expected to come home Wednesday), and the Pfautzes have no doubt it factored into Jadon’s.

“I’ll tell you that was probably one of the most moving things I’ve ever seen in my life,” Pfautz’s mother Cheryl said of the vigil in Holbritter’s room that day. “To see Jadon praying over Brendan, it was just amazing. That was just a really cool gift and a way that we could kind of give back to someone else that was walking where we were just months prior.”

Like Holbritter, his Ephrata High School football teammate, Jadon’s outlook was quite bleak after his Jan. 13 crash in which his vehicle struck a tree in the 100 block of Middle Creek Road. Pfautz was taken by ambulance to Lancaster General Hospital’s trauma unit. He suffered severe head trauma, placing him in a coma. He also sustained bruises to his lungs, heart and liver in addition to a lacerated knee and fractured kneecap. He was placed on a respirator to assist with breathing while under heavy sedation. Because he was unresponsive a probe was placed in his brain to measure brain pressure.

“He had what’s called ‘brain shearing,’ which means the neurological paths from the brain to the body to transmit the things the body needs to do, were torn off,” Cheryl said.

With Jadon clinging to life, the Pfautzes relied on their faith, as well as prayers from others, to get them through.

“My husband Tim works for an international ministry, and they have people working in over 40 nations,” Cheryl said. “And when the accident happened, emails were sent out to the staff, and we know with confidence that there were people in over 40 nations praying for us. We had 24-hour prayer coverage because somebody was always awake in the world praying for us, even when we were sleeping. That was so amazingly cool. We just really felt incredible prayer coverage from the body of Christ around the world, which was just awesome.”

And slowly, but surely, and much to his doctors’ delight, Jadon’s condition began to improve. He spent four weeks at LGH but improved so much he was transferred to the Hershey Pediatric Rehab Center, where he remained for five weeks.

Exactly 11 weeks ago, Jadon was able to return home.

“It’s unbelievable, the miraculous healing that has happened,” Cheryl said. “Doctors over and over again have said to us, there is no explanation first for his survival, and there is no explanation how quickly he’s recovering. His therapist—he still gets out-patient therapy for two and a half hours, three days a week— has told us more than one time, ‘there is no scientific explanation for why you would be recovering so quickly.’ She has been just truly amazed every time she has him. She’s just like, ‘it’s unbelievable.’”

Even Jadon, who returned home in a wheelchair because of his fractured kneecap but soon graduated to a walker and has been free of any aids for the last nine weeks, is amazed at his recovery.

“It was miraculous,” he said Tuesday.

Other than sometimes struggling with his short-term memory, as well as recovering from his knee injury, Jadon is pretty much back to doing normal everyday things.

“He’s doing anything most people do,” Cheryl said. “If you were to walk in our home and talk to him you wouldn’t think anything was wrong with him.”

Once he returned home, he received home-bound instruction through Ephrata to catch up on his studies. And Tuesday night, there Jadon was walking with his Ephrata High School senior classmates through graduation exercises where he received his diploma.

“That was very important to me,” he said of taking part in the graduation ceremony. “I would have been bummed if I couldn’t do it.”

Pfautz has already started taking college courses online through HACC with plans of eventually enrolling at Messiah College when he is able to sit in a classroom for an extended period of time.

“The doctors at Hershey said he will not be able to carry a full load of credits this coming fall so they’ve said if he can just hold off till next fall, he was accepted at Messiah and that’s where he’s planning to go,” Cheryl said. “We will kind of slowly build up because when your brain has been injured to the degree his has, you can’t do that much stuff because the brain itself fatigues, so he will take it slow.”

He plans on studying exercise science with the hopes of becoming a personal trainer.

“The doctors have told us they expect a complete recovery,” Cheryl said. “It could take time but they expect a full recover.”

“He is truly a miracle,” she added. “Doctors did not expect this would happen. It is truly a miracle…the doctors said, ‘it’s not something we’ve done.’ God is just very gracious and undoubtedly a God of miracles.”

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