Every parent’s nightmare became a reality for Brett and Lora Fathauer Sept. 18 when they received a call on their way to Bloomington, Indiana, telling them their son Cameron, a 17-year-old dual enrollment student at Boyce College, was hit by a car while skateboarding in his neighborhood. The Fathauers were in a remote part of Indiana and could not keep cell phone reception long enough to hear the news about their son. They each dropped two calls before reception finally held.
“The third time I am getting a call from our neighbor who is a part of the sheriff’s department, and Lora is getting a call from the Columbus Police Department,” Brett Fathauer said. “We are both hearing this at the same time, we do not know all of the details, but ‘Cameron has been in an accident and you need to get back to Columbus.’”
Cameron suffered severe head trauma and was flown to IU Health Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis. After performing a brain scan, the neurosurgeon decided to remove part of Cameron’s skull to allow the brain to swell. He spent two and a half weeks in a coma. During those two weeks, the doctors treated him for internal bleeding and infection, and they repaired a tendon in Cameron’s hand.
After waking up from his coma Oct. 5, Cameron slowly began to talk and regain his strength. Once he started physical therapy in Indianapolis, he recovered at a miraculous rate that stunned his doctors. Although doctors initially told the family their son would remain in their care for several months, Cameron was released Oct. 23 after just five weeks in the hospital.
Even though the Fathauers have experienced this trying situation, they have seen God’s faithful provision through the entire process, even in how Cameron avoided further injuries. When Cameron was hit by the car, his left arm went through a window and his leg hit the corner of the vehicle, but he did not break a bone. He landed in the grass which partially cushioned the fall. Because he hit the right side of his head, doctors were able to attempt surgery because the success rate is higher as opposed to an injury on the left side. Doctors were even able to treat an infection without surgery.
“There were steps along the way which is pictured by Cameron walking through a field of mines, and any wrong step is an explosion,” Bret Fathauer said. “We were worrying about tomorrow, but we were reminded to worry about the present and take a step every hour and God walked us through this.”
Not only have the Fathauers seen God work to protect and heal Cameron, they have also said the Lord used this accident to speak truth into the lives of others. Cameron believes his strong belief in the sovereignty of God helped him avoid depression, which often affects many people who try to cope with traumatic injuries. Through this accident, the Fathauers have shared the gospel with Cameron’s classmates, nurses in the hospital, and the family that hit Cameron.
A week after his release, Cameron hosted a previously planned worldview and apologetics conference for his high school classmates. The one-day event, “Why I’m Not a Christian: A Conference Answering Christianity’s Toughest Questions,” featured Boyce College Dean Dan DeWitt. Video from the conference sessions is avalable online here.
“God works all things for our good, but we often miss that it is for his glory,” Cameron Fathauer said. “That is clearly evident through this whole thing. Many people in my school are texting me, and I am surprised by the people who are not Christians but are talking to me about theology and why this accident happened to me.”
Not only have Cameron and his family been able to use this event to spread the kingdom of God now, Fathauer knows that his experiences through this process will be beneficial for future ministry opportunities.
“I was one of the only young people in the hospital and this reminded me how dependent we are on God for sustenance,” Fathauer said. “Going through these things, I now have a different view of people who wear helmets or talk differently: I get it. That will help me in a pastoral manner in the future.”