17-year-old Thomas Schoettle was like many teenagers his age. And like many teenagers his age, he was looking forward to going to a concert to see his favorite band – the Zac Brown Band.
But in just one moment, a tragic accident drastically changed his life forever. Thomas dove into a 5-foot pool and suffered a severe spinal cord injury that left him paralyzed, possibly for the rest of his life.
Coming to grips with that kind of life change would be hard for anyone to endure, especially someone Thomas’ age with their whole life ahead of them.
Not being able to attend the concert would be one of the first reality checks for Thomas – a reminder that there would be many things in his life that had once been normal that he wouldn’t be able to do anymore.
A friend of the family decided to reach out to the Zac Brown Band in a Facebook post to see if they could do something special for Thomas.
“Dear Zac,” he wrote, “I know you must get many requests but I figured I’d give it a shot. My sons best friend who is 17 years had a serious accident recently. His name is Thomas Schoettle. They get tickets and go to your concert every time you come to the Philadelphia area. You are his favorite band.
“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. Maybe by seeing you he may realize there is still hope.”
Zac Brown saw the post and in, class-act fashion, flew via helicopter to the rehab facility where Thomas was staying. As Brown entered the room, a star-struck Thomas exclaimed, “Oh my God!” to which the 38-year-old Brown replied, “I figured since you couldn’t come to us, we’d come to you.”
Brown went on to spend not just a couple of minutes, but a full hour with Thomas. We know this was a day neither one of them will soon forget!
To help defray the medical expenses on the long road of rehab that lays ahead for Thomas and his family, A GoFundMe account has been set up.
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