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Remembering a Boys’ Archery Accident That Turned into Scary ER Trip

Archery accident gives family a scare and a trip to the ER.

June 20, 2016 marks the 22nd anniversary of a family’s archery accident gone wrong. It’s the story of two brothers, Drew and Tyler Thornton, whose normal afternoon practicing archery turned into a traumatic trip to the ER.

I had the opportunity to catch up with Drew Thornton as he recalled the details of his traumatic experience.

Tyler was practicing with his dime-store bow, which still maintained a 40-pound draw weight, and his practice tipped arrow when the archery accident occurred.

Here’s the story told by Drew two years ago on the 20th anniversary.

“Today marks the 20th anniversary of my arrow accident. For a ten-year-old 3rd grader going to the fourth grade, summer was my life. Couldn’t wait to get started in my summer activities. So when I got hurt on the first week day of summer, it was traumatic. Lets not even worry about the fact that I almost died.

My summer was shot.

So, on that Monday, Tyler and I were in the backyard. Tyler was shooting his bow and arrow and I watched him as he went back and forth retrieving his arrow from his target. In my mind I was thinking, it would be nice if I retrieved his arrows for him. I got behind the tree and awaited his shot. I waited for what seemed to be a good while. So for a ten-year-old that means maybe 15 seconds. No shot had been fired yet, so I thought I would take a peek and see what he was doing. Boom, before I could get my eyes on him the arrow had penetrated itself deep, five inches into my brain.


I remember instantly grabbing it and trying to pull it out but that felt horrible. I can remember the sound of the arrow when it hit my skull. I fell to my knees and Tyler caught me before I fell face first to the ground and he carried me to the house. I remember the scream my mom let out when she saw me lying there, but I also remember her comforting me as we waited on the ambulance. They cut the arrow short so it wouldn’t be so long, and I can remember the sound of every fiber of fiberglass resonating in my brain as they cut through it. They put me in the ambulance and cut off my shirt, and I remember getting upset because it was a new shirt. After that I don’t remember much that happened until I woke up.

The first person I saw was my dad. I remember saying “Hey Dad” and everyone getting emotional. I had people telling me that I was the miracle child, that God had given me another chance at life. I even had an old man tell me. “Boy, a God that good to you, you shouldn’t ever do anything wrong.”

It wasn’t but a few years ago that I started believing some of the things people had said. I had thought I just got lucky. But, now I see that God gave me a blessing that day. Throughout my life I’ve had people underestimate me and what I couldn’t do because I got shot. Thinking he can’t be right in the head. So for a young man going through school and college, there wasn’t any kind of encouraging speaker that would give someone drive like that. Also, couldn’t ask for a better platform to be able to talk to students and help them find the love for Christ.

It may have taken me a long time to see how God was doing his work in a ten-year-old’s life but man it is awesome. I wouldn’t change anything. “

After talking with Thornton he explained how the doctors told his parents that he would never function again. To the doctor’s disbelief Drew woke up.

Thornton now happily lives in the same town where he grew up, is happily married with two beautiful daughters.

Image and Interview via Drew Thornton

Like what you see here? You can read more awesome hunting articles by Nathan Unger at the Bulldawg Outdoors blog. Follow him on Twitter@Bulldawgoutdoor and on Instagram @Bulldawgoutdoors

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Remembering a Boys’ Archery Accident That Turned into Scary ER Trip