MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — It has now been one year since a young Crosby man’s mom got the call. There had been an ATV accident near the North Dakota oil rig where he was working.

“My husband got the call from the doctor that said he wouldn’t make it so we needed to just drive careful,” Lisa Schweitzer said.

When his parents made the six hour drive, they found Zed Schweitzer brain dead with severe head and face trauma. But that’s not where Zed’s story ended. As it turns out, it was just beginning of a story that’s baffled doctors.

It’s given traumatic brain injury survivors everywhere some hope.

For 24 year old Zed Schweitzer, Watford City, North Dakota, could have been the opportunity of a lifetime. But the strong young man would soon be on the brink of life after an ATV accident.

“I was driving, calling everyone I know on my phone who prays,” Lisa said.

Zed Schweitzer was pronounced brain dead. His family gathered in prayer at a Bismark hospital, they were asked to donate his organs. But then, their prayers were interrupted.

“That doctor said I don’t know what just happened but it must have been a miracle because he has brain activity,” Lisa said.

With a brain full of blood and a face full or fractures – Zed was flown to Hennepin County Medical Center.

“There’s a scale people get scored on when they come in the emergency department and he was just clearly on all measures all the way down on the severe end of the scale,” Brionn Tonkin with HCMC’s Traumatic Brain Injury Program said.

For months he would be under Dr. Tonkin’s care at HCMC’s Traumatic Brain Injury Program. At first he couldn’t even write letters. His mom shows the paper he scribbled on.

But after weeks and weeks of therapy, his recovery and his legs took a huge step forward. And then he started gaining speed.

“I think it’s very much of a miracle that I was able to make it this far,” Zed said.

He’s not the only one.

“I would say Zed’s a miracle. It’s not a term to be used lightly but appropriate in this case,” Tonkin said.

And that word now brands his parents Crosby home, where Zed does brainteasers indoors, and fishing and chores outdoors in between brain injury support meetings.

“He can do anything he wants to do, I know he can, because we’ve witnessed it,” Lisa said

Zed and his family said they think another reason for his survival is the care he received. He went back on the one-year anniversary last week to thank the nurses personally.

While Zed will never return to the oil fields, his goal is to go back to work full time.

Susan-Elizabeth Littlefield

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