Anchorage, Alaska firefighter/paramedic Ben Schultz spoke his first words since suffering a spinal injury when he fell from a ladder in June.
On July 31, Schultz said, “hi”, “mom” and “dad” from his Denver hospital room, where he was transferred to from Anchorage because of their specialty in treating head and spine injuries, KTUU reported.
Before Monday, doctors had classified Schultz as being unconscious or semi-conscious; after verbally responding to prompts, his status was changed to conscious for the first time since his fall.
“We’re elated. We’re praising God that he’s coming back and we’re just ecstatic,” his father told Channel 2 from Colorado. His father also thanked Anchorage firefighters for their support and fundraising efforts during Schultz’s recovery.
Firefighters found Schultz lying on the ground near an engine with a 100-foot ladder during a training exercise. Schultz, 29, has been with the fire department for six years.