Zac Brown Band Surprises Paralyzed Teenage Fan With Hospital Visit
17-year-old Thomas Schoettle is a huge Zac Brown Band fan and was looking forward to seeing the group perform in Philadelphia on July 14. But just 17 days before the concert, Schoettle was involved in a diving accident, leaving him paralyzed from a fractured neck and bruised spinal cord.
As the teen began his recovery at the Bryn Mawr Rehab Center, a family friend reached out to Brown via Facebook in hopes of lifting Schoettle’s spirit.
“Dear Zac, I know you must get many requests but I figured I’d give it a shot. My sons (sic) best friend who is 17 years had a serious accident recently. They get tickets and go to your concert every time you come to the Philadelphia area. You are his favorite band,” the post began.
“Unfortunately, on 6/27/17 Thomas dove into an 5 foot above ground pool and suffered a severe spinal cord injury and is paralyzed. At 17, the reality of the possibility of paralysis for the remainder of his life is difficult to accept. Missing your concert this, Friday 7/14/17, is actually his first reality check as far as things he will miss and things he won’t be able to do. I know your schedule is super busy and I know its a long shot, but, would there be any chance you could visit him, if only for a couple minutes.”
The message fortunately made it to Brown, who stopped by the rehab center, via helicopter, the day after his show to surprise the young man.
“Oh my God,” the 17-year-old is heard saying in a video posted to Facebook by his mother, Samantha Springfield-Schoettle. “I figured since you couldn’t come to us, we’d come to you,” joked Brown.
Much of the hour-long interaction was captured by Springfield-Schoettle and will likely be cherished as her son endures many more months of rehab. A GoFundMe has been set up for the family to help with his medical bills.
Zac Brown Band will continue to tour the country for their Welcome Home Tour, with upcoming stops in Paso Robles, CA, Denver, CO, Detroit Lakes, MN and many more.