8th Grader, Ty Swindle Overcomes Life Changing Obstacle in 2020


Madison McClard

Eighth-grader, Ty Swindle suffered an unfortunate incident a year ago today and is a walking miracle. On April 12, 2020, Ty was accidentally shot in the back of the neck.

What could have been a fatal tragedy, has turned into a true eye-opening experience for him and all who know him. We are blessed and fortunate to still have Ty with us today. I wanted to share his story, so I did an interview with him to better understand what happened and how he feels about this whole experience.

“My brother and I had returned home from an Easter celebration with my family. I was running up the stairs to my bedroom, and at the same time, my brother lightly tossed his pistol down, and the gun accidentally went off. The bullet hit me in the back of the neck. I don’t remember anything after that, but my family said that I hit the stairs like a rag doll. I lost all control of my body when the bullet struck nerves in my body.”

When the bullet hit him in the back of the neck, it went through cervical 1, hitting his spinal cord. After his family called 911, the ambulance rushed him to Vanderbilt Hospital. When I asked Ty what his first memory is about this incident. He responded with, “I remember going in and out of consciousness and when I woke up, I had a ventilator in my throat, and I couldn’t talk.”

At first he didn’t even know he was shot. He didn’t understand why he was there. “They didn’t want me to know yet. Dad knew I wouldn’t be able to respond, so he didn’t want me to be upset. However, they were standing close to my bedside when I heard them mention something about a bullet, and I started piecing it together. My first thoughts were am I going to be able to walk again and when will I be able to go home?

At that point, Ty couldn’t speak because of the ventilator. This is a machine attached to a tube that is placed in someone’s throat to breathe for them if they are unable to. His family members would use a board with letters on it to communicate with him. “My dad and I worked out a system where I would move my eyes left and right to certain letters, and I would blink when I wanted that letter.”

He spent about 4 weeks at Vanderbilt before being transported to Children’s Health Care in Atlanta, Georgia where he spent another 3 and a half weeks. He was able to do some inpatient rehab in Georgia.

“They told me that the time I spent there would depend on my recovery and how fast my progress went, so I was determined to do everything I could to get out of there and back home as soon as possible.”

He said the most difficult, challenging part of this experience was how to mentally overcome all the stress and problems he would face. I asked him what inspired him to keep fighting his reply was, “My community in Macon County.” He said having a huge support system made him feel very loved by the community. “Sometimes I wanted to give up, but I knew I had to keep fighting for my loved ones and supporters.”


He said God helped him the most. One of my questions was if he ever blamed God for what happened to him, or did he stay positive?  His reply was, “No, I was mad sometimes, but I knew I had to stay positive. I never blamed God for what happened.” He says that his time in the hospital and rehab was hard and emotional. However, he feels like this made him mentally stronger.

Ty says he worried about his football career. He was afraid he wouldn’t be able to play football again, but he realized he needed to focus on walking first.

If Ty could go back and change what happened to him he doesn’t know if he would. “I think what happened to me was a blessing, but it wasn’t at the same time. I do wish I could go back and play sports though. However, it gave me knowledge about the world.” Ty’s experience gave him “a new outlook life.” When I asked Ty what he took away from all this, he said, “…To be grateful for all I have.” Ty shared some advice afterwards. “Even in the bad times, stay positive and don’t blame other people for things that happen to you.”

What seemed impossible to Ty in April, became possible in the football season after recovery. In the last seconds of one of the final games of the season, the center snapped Ty the ball in the victory formation. Being back on the field meant a lot to Ty. Never say never.

I think we could all learn something about what Ty said. If he can go through all of what he went through and stay as positive and as close to God as he did, then we can get through anything. Embrace your challenges and become stronger from your experiences.


We are all so

proud of you, #6!


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