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The 700 Club with Pat Robertson

bicycle safety
Amazing Story

The Stephens: Always Wear a Helmet, Always Pray

By Ken Hulme
The 700 Club“It is awesome. Love going down it. You can go fast.”

It was a hill worthy of any 11-year- old boy and his bicycle. Auston Stephens was ready to take it on, this time with his best friend Cody. Cody, who had never gone down the hill before, wasn’t so sure.

He recalls, “I’m saying it’s too dangerous. I mean it might be fun, but it’s too dangerous too.”

Maybe Auston should have listened to his friend. By the time they reached the top of the embankment, Cody started having trouble with his bike. But Auston was ready to ride!

“He said, ‘Wait on me.’ I said, ‘No, I’ll meet you down the hill,’” Auston says. “It was fun, ‘till I came to the curve. I closed my eyes and know nothing else.”

Auston had traveled down the hill literally dozens of times, but this time he decided to do it without brakes. That caused him to miss the bend in the road and to launch off the embankment. He landed face down in a bed of rocks. And he did it all without a helmet.

Cody came down the hill only to find his friend face down in the rocks with his bike on top of him.
Cody says, “He didn’t answer me, so I went and got his mom. We ran out, and she called 911.”

SusanAuston’s mother Susan remembers, “He was face down, entangled in his bicycle, just lying there. I called his name and got down to him. It was a very panicky moment.”

That’s when Auston’s mom says a couple of amazing things happened. First, her husband arrived just as she was trying to call him.

“I knelt down beside him,” James, Auston’s father, recalls, “and asked him, ‘Auston, can you squeeze may hand?’ Then I heard the ambulance coming in the distance, and I just leaned over and began to pray for him. I knew that God was gonna take care of him.”

But when paramedics arrived, they found something that gave them reason to fear for Auston’s life. James Westmoreland was the paramedic on the scene. He says, “When you have an indention in the head of a patient like that, we consider that there might be some possible brain injury, paralysis, and it can naturally lead to death.”

So paramedics forced Auston by air medical to the T.C. Thompson Children’s Hospital at Erlanger, where x-rays revealed a fractured skull across his forehead.

Susan says, “The doctor told us that he had literally cracked his skull from ear to ear. They did not initially know how much brain swelling there was but that there were pockets of blood in the areas around his brain.”

James says of his son, “What they were telling us -- might as well get ready for the long haul. He said this is a very serious thing. There was possible brain injury. He could possibly have seizures. There could also be the possibility of paralysis because of it. You know It crushes you when you have a doctor tell you that there could be brain damage, that he couldn’t function as a normal child. You begin to wonder just really what would happen if he couldn’t play ball or if he couldn’t run and do the things that he enjoys to do.”

But instead of fear, the Stephens turned to prayer in a little waiting room and across America.

“The prayers of the saints were just remarkable to me,” Susan says. “They were all praying. They were all from different denominations. I think that was one thing that really touched God’s heart. Everyone dropped their religions and just knocked on the doors of heaven for my son.”

James StephensTwo days later, James received a gift from the Lord as his boy lied in intensive care.

James recalls, “That was the greatest day of my life -- the best Father’s Day present anyone could ever receive. When they came to the waiting room and said, ‘Mr. Stephens, Auston is awake and wants you to come back here.’ I walked into the room, and he had his arms outstretched. He said, ‘Happy days father.’ Even though he was a little mixed up with his words, that was so wonderful.”

“He thinks it was just a Father’s Day gift, but it wasn’t,” Susan says. “It was remarkable to have him be that alert.”

The next day, doctors repaired some minor injury to Auston’s skull, and again something amazing happened.

Susan says, “They had told us it would be at least a two-hour operation, and 45 minutes later, they tell us that he is out surgery and that he’s doing fine. My God is remarkable. Just remarkable.”

“God spared him. He allowed him to be made whole,” James says. “There was no brain damage. He would recover 100 percent. That was so amazing. That let me know that God was still in control.”

Susan says, “Two days later we were home. Within a five-day period of the accident, we were back in our residence [with] him walking and talking.”

AustonA short time later, Auston was back to normal outside playing with his best friend and following a few new family rules.

Auston says, “I don’t ride down that hill. I know that, and I have to wear a helmet.”

James says, “We learned a lot that day about God and how good He really is. If He’d never done anything else in my life, I’d praise Him for that, because He deserves the glory for it all.”

“You can’t put into words the awesomeness of my God,” Susan says. “To bring my son through what He’s brought him through, I couldn’t start to thank Him enough.”


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