A Florida teen ended up with an anchor piercing his skull during one of his many routine boating trips — and the 14-year-old somehow lived to tell the tale.
Caleb Bennett’s recovery from the freak accident is “one in 1,000,000,” according to his doctor.
“I can’t believe I had an anchor in my head, like, that’s pretty crazy,” Caleb said, according to Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital. “My friends now call me the ‘Anchorman,’ so that’s kind of cool.”
But Caleb wasn’t all smiles at the time of the accident.
He was fishing with his friends and his brother in March, as they do on most nice days, when the anchor fell off the boat and lodged itself nearly three-inches deep into his right frontal lobe.
“As soon as I got my hands on it, I kind of felt what it was and I realized it was in my head pretty far,” he recalled. “I just stayed calm. I told my friend, ‘Hey, you need to call 911 or I’m going to die.’”
Caleb was rushed to the emergency room and put into a medically induced coma.
His parents, who were in the Bahamas celebrating their wedding anniversary at the time, took the first flight back.
“We just heard that there was a boating accident,” his dad, Rick Bennett, said.
His mom added, “They were going to have to do an emergency craniotomy. We needed to get back quickly.”
His doctor Luis Rodriguez, a pediatric neurological surgeon at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital, explained that they needed to first remove a large piece of his skull, not only to remove the debris from the anchor but also to allow his brain room to swell.
“When I first saw Caleb, I thought I was going to be sick,” mom Kelli Bennett said. “It’s very hard to see your kid hooked up to every tube, to see that stand with seven to 12 different medicines going in his body, neck brace.”
Rick said he wasn’t sure his son would talk or move again.
But more than a week later, Caleb’s recovery seemed to be successful, news that shocked even his doctor.
“I’ve seen arrows through and through [the head]. I’ve seen bullets through and through [the head]. I’ve seen things like this, but I’ve never seen an anchor, number one,” Rodriguez said. “And number two, I’ve never seen anybody with an injury like that walk out of the hospital almost completely neurologically intact. That’s one in a million.”
Today, Caleb is back to his healthy and happy self and is spending his days enjoying a new hobby: spearfishing.
“Now here we are, ultimately sitting with really the same Caleb we had,” his mom said.
Caleb added, “I’m kind of a big deal around here.”