Samantha Springfield-Schoettle / Facebook
17-year-old Thomas Schoettle is one of the most devoted fans of the Zac Brown Band that you could ever meet. The band is Thomas’ favorite, and his family always makes a point to attend their shows when they come to the Philadelphia area.
Thomas and his family had plans in place to watch the Zac Brown Band perform during a concert on Friday (July 14). But just weeks before the show was set to go on, something tragic occurred.
The Schoettles’ family friend, Anthony Mela Sr. reached out to Zac Brown on Tuesday (July 11) to tell him about an awful accident that Thomas had been involved in just weeks prior. As Anthony wrote, Thomas suffered a severe spinal cord injury after diving into a five-foot above ground pool. The accident left him paralyzed, and he is currently recovering at the Bryn Mawr Rehab Center in Philadelphia.
“At 17, the reality of the possibility of paralysis for the remainder of his life is difficult to accept,” Anthony wrote. “Missing your concert this, Friday 7/14/17, is actually his first reality check as far as things he will miss and things he won’t be able to do.”
Anthony was wondering if it would be possible for Zac and the rest of the band to pay a visit to Thomas in the hospital. Knowing how much Thomas respects the group, Anthony felt that such a visit might help give him hope.
It didn’t take long for the Zac Brown Band to learn of Thomas’ story, and the group dedicated a song to him at their Philadelphia concert. But they didn’t stop there. They ended up honoring Anthony’s request, and paid a surprise visit to Thomas in the hospital over the weekend.
Thomas’ mother filmed the moment that Zac and the band walked into Thomas’ room, and his reaction was priceless. “Oh my God,” he exclaimed as soon as he saw Zac walk in.
The Zac Brown Band spent an hour talking with Thomas before they had to say goodbye. We’re sure that Thomas will never forget that hour he spent with them!
You can watch the video of Thomas meeting Zac Brown and the band below.
Thomas has already had surgery, but he still has months of rehab ahead of him. If you’d like to help support him and his family, a friend has set up a GoFundMe account to help with his medical bills. You can visit that account here.
Our prayers go out to Thomas as he continues to recover.