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Tennessee student graduates after surviving sled accident

Updated: May. 17, 2021 at 10:21 PM CDT
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ARLINGTON, Tenn. (WMC) - A Tennessee teenager walked the stage at Bellevue Baptist Church to get his high school diploma this week.

It’s a remarkable event, considering the freak accident that almost killed the young man in February.

Arlington High School senior, Sam Reid, was on a sled being pulled by a 4-wheeler when disaster struck. What happened next is nothing short of a miracle.

Sam celebrated two accomplishments Monday night: his graduation from Arlington High School, and the fact he’s even alive to get his diploma.

“Oh, I feel great!” he told WMC Action News 5. “Like, so much better.”

Three months ago, Sam was at Regional One recovering from a terrible accident. During the February snowstorm, Sam went sledding with friends. The rope broke and he was thrown off into a hay tractor which has huge spikes on the front that are used to lift heavy bales of hay.

One of the spikes impaled Sam, entering his body under his ribs and exiting through the back of his neck.

“I told myself, I’m not going to die, Sam recalled. “I’m not gonna die today.”

Paramedics had to cut the spike off the tractor to move Sam. And because the storm was picking up, a medical helicopter couldn’t get Sam. He had to be driven by ambulance from Arlington to the Regional One Health Medical Center in the medical district near downtown Memphis.

His parents were out of town, five hours away, when they got the call their son was injured.

“So, that was like the worst five hours of our life, driving back knowing our son was injured,” said Sam’s father, Todd Reid. “We didn’t know how extensive it was or how bad it was.”

“There would be times in the hospital that I would have to go outside or in the bathroom to shed tears because I didn’t want him to see. But he was so stoic,” said Sam’s mother, Christie Reid.

His family credits first responders and the staff at Regional One with saving his life and helping him walk again. They say tutors helped him catch up on his homework. After doctors removed the metal spear from his body, they gave it to Sam’s family. His dad lifted that hay fork in victory when Sam was released from the hospital. They still have it at their house, a visual reminder of his brush with death.

And when Sam walked the stage at graduation, voices lifted, and not just in the Mid-South. Thousands have followed his amazing recovery on Facebook.

“There have been people all over the country praying for me and I’m thankful for that,” he said.

Sam’s family says doctors told them the spike narrowly missed his heart and spine by less than an inch. He spent more than a month in the hospital, went through several agonizing surgeries, lost half a lung, and still has nerve damage.

But after turning 18 Friday and graduating four days later, Sam’s optimistic about the future.

“I’m thankful to be here,” he said. “It’s been a long road. I’m surprised how well I’ve done in three months. It’s astonishing. So yes, I’m thankful.”

Friends established a GoFundMe to help Sam’s family with the medical bills. If you’d like to contribute, click here.

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