MANATEE COUNTY, Fla. (WWSB) - Doctors at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg call 14-year-old Caleb Bennett’s recovery “one a million” after the Manatee County teen got an anchor stuck into his head during a boating accident and made a full recovery.
CNN reports it happened six months ago. Caleb was fishing with his brother and some friends when an anchor fell from their boat and swung into Caleb’s head when its line pulled too tight.
Caleb didn’t think he’d live.
“As soon as I got my hands on it, I kind of felt what it was, and I realized it was in my head pretty far. I just stayed calm. I told my friend, ‘Hey, you need to call 911 or I’m going to die,’” Caleb said in an interview for the hospital’s newsletter.
His mother and father, Kelli and Rick, were celebrating their wedding anniversary in the Bahamas when they got the phone call about the accident and had to rush to the hospital in St. Petersburg.
“When I first saw Caleb, I thought I was going to be sick,” Kelli said during an interview. “It’s very hard to see your kid hooked up to every tube, to see that stand with seven to 12 different medicines going in his body. Neck brace.”
Dr. Luis Rodriguez, a pediatric neurological surgeon at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital, said Caleb needed an emergency craniotomy, explaining, “We needed to take out a big piece of skull try to take out the pieces of bone and whatever else he had in there from the anchor. And more important, give his brain space to swell because that’s what was going to happen.”
Caleb underwent surgery and was put into a medically-induced coma. Though the situation was die, the hospital says the anchor did not hit any blood vessels in his brain. CNN reports just five days after the accident, Caleb could walk again.
“We’ll forever be in debt to Johns Hopkins All Children’s. I couldn’t have imagined a level of care was even available, with so many people working around the clock," said Rick.
Kelli added, "And now here we are, ultimately sitting with really the same Caleb we had. It’s really quite a miracle.”
CNN says six months later, the only residual effect of the accident are minor seizures, which Caleb controls with medication.
"I’ve never seen an anchor, number one, and number two, I’ve never seen anybody with an injury like that walk out of the hospital almost completely neurologically intact. That’s one in a million,” Dr. Rodriguez told the hospital’s newsroom.
Even though the ordeal was certainly scary for Caleb, CNN says it hasn’t kept him off the water. He still goes fishing on the Manatee River several times a week.
In an interview with the hospital, Caleb said, “I can’t believe I had an anchor in my head. Like, that’s pretty crazy. My friends now call me the ‘Anchorman’ so that’s kind of cool. I’m kind of a big deal around here."