Ben Fetters: recovering from near fatal fallFriday, October 01, 2010 By Monica Sincel
From being paralyzed, to almost dead, sophomore Ben Fetters was quite the celebrity when it came to what happened with his accident. It’s Aug. 27, the second day of school with athletics booming into season and friends reuniting. After soccer practice, sophomores Reed Havel and Gordon Wall took a trip with the Havel family to West Branch and Fetters would join them after the home football game that night. The next morning was filled with boating, waterskiing, and knee-boarding. After all the fun, came resting and relaxing. Then the idea came up about going mountain biking. After getting the okay, they were off biking on the West Branch Mountain Bike Trail. Minutes into their ride, Havel got a flat tire. They found a mountain biker named Michael for help. After the tire was fixed with the help of Michael and they were back on the trail. The trail was rough with lots of rocks sticking out of the ground. Fetters, Havel and Wall spaced each other out enough to still be in sight. About 3/4 of a mile into the trail they hit a sudden jump. The boys enjoyed going off the jump again and again. It was Ben’s turn, Reed and Gordon were up with Ben at the top of the jump to watch. He did the jump, “[After] two seconds you hear a crash and moaning”, Havel said. Havel and Wall rushed down to find Fetters. They found Ben on his back at the bottom of a 30-foot ravine. “As I was going I hit a rock and my wheel turned left”, Fetters said, “I remember thinking about everything and seeing it. It was like in slow motion. I went flying down the rest of the hill and hit my head first on the rocks and then I whiplashed back and my face scraped against the rocks”, Fetters said. Fetters wasn’t able to move but Havel kept him still because he knew he messed up his back and possibly his head and neck. Havel knew moving would make things far worse. In the middle of the forest with no cell phones and Fetters hurt, Havel and Wall had a lot to handle. Havel decided to stay with Fetters while Wall went to look for some help. Michael the mountain biker from before, rode by and stayed for help. Havel used his phone to call his parents. Havel’s parents eventually showed up with a first aid kit. However Fetters’ condition was too serious for a first aid kit. Havel left to find Wall calling EMS. With EMS on their way, they began to relax. EMS arrived to the scene moving and on their feet. They performed tests on Fetters to get at least an idea as to what was wrong and what precautions needed to be taken. Fetters was taken to a dock by a boat and there he took a helicopter to Cleveland Metro Hospital. After three days of being in the hospital, Fetters was notified that he broke two vertebrae in his spine, another in his neck, and had cracked his skull. Fetters has been in recovery ever since. The healing process has taken over. Fetters has been taking half days at school so he doesn’t get far behind. “I’m back for half days for the next three weeks and then after that I’ll have my neck brace and possibly back brace off so I might go back full time then,” Fetters said.