Brad Lewis, a dad in Sydney, Australia, was playing with his 8-year-old son Oscar when things suddenly got very scary. But thanks to Lewis’ protective instincts, Oscar survived what could have been a fatal accident.
Oscar was playing with a Nerf blaster at a friend’s house when some of the darts zinged past Brad and out over the first floor balcony, according to the Daily Telegraph. Oscar ran out to see where they went, saw one in a tree and reached out to get it. That's when he lost his balance, and in a terrifying moment, toppled over the edge of the railing.
Brad's dad instincts went into overdrive. He raced over to grab Oscar but wound up tumbling down with him, where they both fell onto a cement driveway 13 feet below.
As they fell, Brad intentionally pinned Oscar to his chest, curling his body around his son's so that he would take most of the impact—a move that likely saved his son's life. Although Oscar temporarily lost consciousness upon impact, he suffered relatively minor injuries thanks to his father’s quick thinking and is home with his mom and brother.
Brad, who took the brunt of the fall, experienced major head and neck injuries, as the impact cracked open his skull and bruised his brain. But even after the fall, Brad’s only concern was for his sons. “Are the kids okay?” Brad asked, according to his friend Beau, who was the first one on the scene. “Don't let them see me like this,” he pleaded, adding, “Don't let me die, mate.”
The father of two is facing months of painful and difficult recovery. He's out of the intensive care unit and was moved to the hospital's head trauma facility, but still doesn't know when he'll be released. The doctors will be removing 45 staples from his head in about a week, if all goes well. His friends have started a GoFundMe campaign to help with expenses, and they’ve already raised over $75,000 of their $150,000 goal.
“I think any father would have done it for their child if put in the same situation,” Brad told the Daily Telegraph. “I sit here now thanking my lucky stars Oscar and I are both here and are moving forward.”
His wife emphasized her husband's dedication to his boys. “Even after the fall, his major concern was that his boys would not see him as he was and that he wanted to be around for them as a dad,” she said.
A message on the GoFundMe page expresses the gratitude felt by Brad and his family.
“While the family are still trying to come to terms with what happened, they are so incredibly grateful for the outpouring of support from their family, friends and the wider community—many of you they don't even know.”
“He’s a tough guy,” reports Brad's friend Beau. Understatement of the year!