Thomas should have died. After a dirt bike accident nearly killed him, Thomas shares his story of the power of prayer.
- We just started hittin' the trail
and I was givin' her my all,tryin' to keep up with him.
- [Narrator] 19-year-olds TylerRosema and Thomas Schoonbeck
had ridden this trail many times.
Today, Tyler had fallenbehind as Thomas disappeared
around a bend.
- He was settin' a mean pace, man.
I couldn't keep up with him at all.
- [Narrator] When Tyler turned the corner,
he found Thomas rolling onthe ground gasping for breath.
He never saw the cable thathad been stretched across
the trail at neck high.
- When he rolled on his back,I heard the gurgling blood,
that's when he was sayin',"Oh, I can't breathe,
"oh, I can't breathe."
so I knew it was a diresituation at that point.
- [Narrator] With Thomas hanging on,
Tyler got the two of them back to his car
and headed for the hospital.
- He's rockin' back andforth, (gasping sounds)
can't breathe, can't breathe.
I said, hang in there,man, we're almost there.
We're gonna get you to thehospital, it's gonna be alright.
- [Narrator] On the way,he called Thomas' parents,
Dave and Tonya Schoonbeck.
He met them in the hospital lobby.
- Knowing Tyler the wayI do, when he walked up
and I saw his face, Iknew that it wasn't good.
So I go back there and there's my son.
All I can see is a lacerationfrom here, you know,
it's like a big scrape across his neck.
I just looked at the doctor and I said,
so what are we gonna do?
And he said, "This is life threatening."
And I said, well what do youmean this is life threatening?
He said, "This is life threatening."
- [Narrator] A CT scanrevealed that the cable
had severed Thomas' windpipe.
- I said, Lord, if you'regonna take him home,
you need to tell me now.
And the Lord said, "Youdon't go by what you see,
"you don't go by whatyou hear, you fight."
- [Narrators] Doctors inserteda trach and put Thomas
in a medically-induced comaso he could be airlifted
to the University of Michigan Hospital
for emergency surgery.
The family had a few minuteswith him before they left.
- I just bent over and prayed with him,
and told him again, youremember what the Lord said,
you fight, you're gonna live.
You don't go by what yousee, or go by what you hear,
you're gonna live.
And again, I know that I knowthat the Lord at that time
was just keeping me.
- [Narrator] By thetime the chopper landed,
it was clear Thomas would live,
but he was still in critical condition.
- He was clearly very sick,and had been very sick
from the injury.
- [Narrator] Dr. RishindraRedddy was Thomas' surgeon.
- The fact that he was ableto survive for that first
however long, half an hour,an hour, it was for him
to get from the site ofinjury to the emergency room,
still very surprised by that.
- [Narrator] Dr. Reddy toldthe Schoonbecks there was
no guarantee their son wouldbe able to talk or even eat
and breathe on his own.
- Going into the operation,
I wasn't 100% sure what we would find.
It's not so much doing the repair
and hooking things back together,it's doing the dissection,
making sure we don't injureother vital structures.
- They were worried aboutscarring and what that would
cost him in long term.
They really, at this point,still don't know if he's
ever going to be able tobe off the feeding tube.
- [Narrator] Tonya andDave asked their friends
and family to pray.
- Oh my goodness, yeah, mywhole church was praying.
I mean, there was prayer chainsgoing on all over the place.
- [Narrator] Even thoughone of Thomas' vocal cords
was left paralyzed, Dr. Reddydeemed that the three-hour
surgery a success.
- And I was even happierwhen we realized at least one
of his vocal cords was stillin tact, and that meant
that ultimately he would be able to talk,
and be able to breathe normally,and hopefully eat normally,
and things like that.
- The first time I sawhim, I just remember,
I was huggin' him and lovin'him and just praying with him.
- [Narrator] Prayer continuedfor Thomas as each day
brought small improvements.
He started speaking with a whisper,
and after several weeks,was able to go home.
Then after three months ofrehab, they took out the trach
and the feeding tube, andThomas was ready for a snack.
- And so, yeah, I went andgot a Dr. Pepper and like
a Snickers or something, and it was great.
Yeah, it was like a glorious moment.
- [Narrator] Today, Thomas isa student at Regent University
with plans to work in youthministry and share his story
about the power of prayer.
- When Christians are obedientto the discipline of prayer,
and they act in faith,God responds to that.
Things happen, you know, Idefinitely gave him the glory
and just the thanksgiving for being alive.