Family members of Mayten Lumpkin speak out about accident


Mayten Lumpkin lies in his hospital bed surrounded by his friends. Pictured left to right are Rachel Sorenson, Bryan Lovell, Connor Anderson, Grant Owens, Dalton Dickson and Jera Davis. Submitted Photo.

Story by Holland Kemp, special contributor

Gearing up for an exciting, adventure-filled senior year and looking ahead as he planned for college were senior Mayten Lumpkin’s top priorities, but that quickly changed in the late afternoon of Sept. 17. A young man whose life was once so carefree is now faced with a terrifying and uncertain future.

It started with a pool game he played countless times with his friends. They would each dive into the shallow end of the pool to see who could make it to the deep water. Maybe he didn’t run as fast as before, or maybe he was tired. Whatever the reason, Mayten didn’t quite make it past the shallow water. He hit the top of his head on the bottom of the pool, shattering two of the disks in his vertebrae, leaving him completely paralyzed from the neck down.

As the paramedics loaded him into the ambulance, Mayten said, “Mom, I’m really sorry, but I did something really, really stupid.”

Later at the hospital the doctor decided his condition was critical and that Mayten needed to be treated in Dallas by a team of doctors with experience in spinal injuries. At 9 p.m., he was airlifted to Parkland Hospital in Dallas.

“There is nothing more terrifying than watching your child fly off not knowing if he will ever be able to walk again,” Mayten’s mother Missy Lumpkin said.

After arriving in Dallas, a team of neurosurgeons performed surgery on Mayten’s neck to relieve the pressure around his spinal cord. This would lessen the damage to the nerves, so he would have a higher chance of recovering mobility in his limbs.

After four hours in surgery, Mayten was in recovery and starting the long, slow road to rehabilitation.

“The surgery went great. No surprises. They did exactly what they said they expected. No spinal fluid leak,” Mayten’s cousin Jennifer Parker said. “Now we just wait and see what happens from here.”

Each day doctors and family are able to see improvements. He is now able to sit up fully. His arms are getting stronger, and he can now raise them. Therapists are working on his grip so that he will be able to hold something on his own and use his hands more.

“What is so hard to accept is that it may take up to a year before Mayten’s nerves have completely healed, and we will be able to see what his capabilities are and how much mobility he has,” Missy Lumpkin said. “It is terrifying to ask the question ‘will my son ever be able to walk again?’”

As the Lumpkin family faces a future filled with a multitude of unknowns, they do know one thing for certain: when tragedy strikes, their family, friends and community will rally behind them and keep them in their prayers.

“I don’t know what the future holds for Mayten, but I do know that God is in control. I believe that because of all the love and prayers we have received from so many wonderful people, Mayten is going to be okay and end up doing great things,” Missy Lumpkin said. “In fact, our number one goal is for him to walk across the stage in May with his graduating class and receive his diploma.”