An 11-year-old boy is expected to recover fully from an accident in a which a rod pierced his skull just below his right eye and punched through his brain and up against the back of his skull.
Brian Swartz was bicycle riding with his brother along a country road near the Cumberland County town of Newville last week when his bike struck a hay rake along the road, puncturing a tire and pitching him forward onto the rod.While his brother Jerry, 15, rushed to a nearby house for help, Brian lifted himself from the rod and, feeling dizzy, lay down on the ground.
"It was just scary," Brian said. "I pulled myself off - I guess I didn't realize what I was doing."
"I was scared I was going to die," Brian said. "It was close."
The boy's father, Jerry, soon arrived and he and his wife, Deborah, placed ice, towels and a damp cloth over the wound and took Brian to Carlisle Hospital, about 10 miles away. Brian was treated in the emergency room and transferred to Polyclinic Medical Center in Harrisburg.
"It's unbelievable," said Dr. Hugh Knight, who treated Brian at Carlisle. "It's very uncommon someone would survive. It just seemed to hit the right area."
Brian is expected to recover completely, said Dr. Howard Stein, senior resident in the joint pediatric program of Polyclinic and Hershey Medical Center.
"The injury is something we see occasionally," he said. "That he came through without anything wrong is remarkable. I've never seen anything like it."
Brian was transferred out of intensive care the day after the accident Tuesday and into the pediatric unit.
"I only have a headache and a big bump on the back of my head," Brian said.
Jerry Swartz, who passed out when he first learned details of his son's injury from doctors, said Brian's survival was a miracle.
"This is one in a million," he said. "It's hard to believe anything like this could happen and he would not have brain damage or a physical handicap.
"I really feel strongly that there was only one way this boy survived - God was looking over him," Swartz said.