Nate Lytle: A Brain Injury Miracle
By Mia Evans-Saracual
The 700 Club
On June 4th, 2007, 23-year-old Nate Lytle was working at his dad’s engine supply shop when something went terribly wrong. While trying to move a heavy pipe from the shelf, Nate fell off a 10-foot ladder. His father, Billy, ran to his side.
“The first thing I did was kind of look him over to see if I could see anything,” Billy remembers. I kept asking him, ‘Did you hit your head, Nate? Did you hit your head?’ And he would never answer me. He just kept holding his wrist, saying ‘Oh Dad, oh Dad.’”
Billy rushed his son to a nearby hospital to treat what appeared to be a broken wrist. Within minutes Nate’s mother, Tammy, met them at the emergency room.
“I noticed that he was having a hard time holding his head up,” Tammy recalls. “A few seconds later he said, ‘Mom,’ and I said, ‘What son?’ He said, ‘Uh, uh, uh, uh…’ He couldn’t get anything out but jumbled words, and that’s when I knew something was wrong.”
Nate’s condition went downhill so fast, doctors put him on life support. Dr. John McNeill ordered a CT scan, and discovered a fist-sized hole in Nate’s skull. Nate had hit his head on a pipe when he fell, causing traumatic brain injury.
“This is an actual replica of Nate’s skull,” Dr. McNeill explains. “The bone was fractured, shattered, and actually pushed into his cranium. That was causing a lot of trauma and causing his brain to swell. Swelling of the brain is what kills patients with head injuries. I really did not expect him to survive.”
Dr. McNeill broke the news to Nate’s parents. Billy says, “I went out to park the truck and he had a broken wrist. I came back in, he’s got a brain injury. You’re in shock. All I could think of was ‘God, save my son.’”
“My prayer to God, was ‘He’s my son. And I don’t want him to go. I want him here with us,” Tammy recalls. “My biggest prayer was that he would be able to be here and continue speaking, and telling people about God and God’s love, and bringing people to Christ.”
As word went out, family and friends gathered at the hospital to pray for Nate. “At this time, there were so many people in that waiting area,” Tammy says. “They were all on the floor, in the chairs, you couldn’t walk through. God just kept blessing with more people to pray.”
Neurosurgeon, Dr. Keith Norvell, performed the delicate surgery to remove tiny bone fragments from Nate’s brain. “After several hours, Dr. Norvell came out and talked with us and said that he did come through the surgery,” Tammy shares. “He said, ‘Honestly, I think you guys need to start making arrangements because I don’t see how he’s going to pull through this.’”
“You don’t want to say goodbye because God can do anything,” Billy says. “So you want to hold onto that little inkling of hope that even though the doctors are saying everything’s bad, that God’s going to make something good out of it.”
Doctors said even if Nate did survive, he would likely never walk, talk, or communicate again. They put him in a medically induced coma to give his brain time to heal.
“You just cry out to God, ‘Help me get through this so I can help him,’” Tammy shares. “I actually remember feeling like Him saying, ‘I’ve got you to this point, and I’m here.’ We would pray over Nate, talk to him, tell him how much we loved him, not knowing if he understood any of this, of course. Then we started letting his friends and different people go in and pray for him too, because we knew that he was so loved and all these people wanted to see him.”
Nate, a former U.S. Coast Guardsman and avid surfer, also had surfer buddies everywhere spreading the word online to pray for Nate.
“We would go put on the web site, ‘Okay, this is our next prayer. This is what we need to pray for.’ Everyone would join in this prayer, and we would turn around and it would be answered. So it was just amazing to watch what God was doing.”
Nate’s condition dramatically improved. After six weeks in ICU, doctors brought him out of the coma. Nate endured months of intensive physical and speech therapy, and his recovery defied the odds. He learned to walk, talk and he even surfs again! Nate says God healed him.
“I’m forced to rely on Him every single day,” Nate says. You’ve got to wake up and say ‘God please give me the strength, give me the endurance, give me the words to say today.’ So I have to ask Him every single day for little things and big things. And He just gives, He provides over and over if we surrender.”
“By all the statistics, by all the things that were supposed to happen to him—bluntly speaking, he was not supposed to wake up,” Dr. McNeill says. “Just to see him alive was amazing, but to see him walk in and be able to talk to me was just an unbelievable feeling. You have to think of God. It was a miracle.”
Since the accident, Nate met and married the woman he calls his angel. Brianna is one of the nurses who cared for him in the hospital.
“He loves people. He loves God,” Brianna says. “His faith is so strong even in spite of all of this. I think it’s even strengthened it because of what he’s been through.”
Nate shares his story of hope and healing in Christ in his new book, More God: Seeing the Blessings Through The Pain.
“I’m just a normal person praying to be used, and God is honoring it,” Nate shares. “I surrendered the whole thing to Him and He made it beautiful.”
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