Ellis Chaffetz Brown Husband Spinal Cord Injury - The Family's Unending Support
Jason has a conversation with his daughter Ellis Chaffetz Brown about the way in which Ellis Chaffetz brown husband spinal cord injury altered the course of their lives and the lives of their family. Ellis relates her story of unending love and faith to the audience.
On July 29, 2021, Jason and Julie Chaffetz had a party in their backyard pool. About 50 people from the Brown and Chaffetz families got together to swim, eat cake, and eat ice cream.
Ellis had just told her family that she and her husband were going to have their third child.
Everyone jumped off the diving board in turn. Spencer, who is 30 years old, put his arms by his sides when he got to the end of the board. He had done a dive called a "penguin" many times.
COPYRIGHT_WI: Published on https://washingtonindependent.com/ebv/ellis-chaffetz-brown-husband-spinal-cord-injury/ by Karan Emery on 2022-10-06T08:08:49.276Z
This time, though, he bounced headfirst into the 10 feet-deep water, like a torpedo crashing to the bottom, his head hitting the concrete where it starts to slope toward the shallow end. The sudden impact was taken by his neck and spine. He couldn't feel anything or move.
He didn't breathe and hoped that someone would see him. He was afraid that they would think he was just messing around because he was known as a jokester.
I do remember thinking, OK, like this could be the end. This is how I say goodbye to the world, so hold on tight.
- Jason Brown
Jason Chaffetz was the first to see Spencer on the bottom and start calling his name. Ellis, who was only 5 feet 4 inches tall, jumped in to pull her husband to safety. She was afraid that they might both drown.
People jumped in and pulled Spencer up. They kept him in the water until the first responders got there. The next day, the Chaffetzes took the diving board away.
Chaffetz, a former Utah congressman who now works for Fox News, had to guest host "The Sean Hannity Show" from his basement the night of the accident. This was a reminder that life goes on.
Spencer did not break his neck, but he did hurt his spinal cord. Spencer spent his first week in the intensive care unit at Intermountain Medical Center. During that time, Dr. Don Van Boerum took care of him.
He said it is a common misconception that the spinal cord has to be cut to cause paralysis. He said that the spinal cord is like a bunch of thin wires that connect the brain to the rest of the body.
The injury Spencer got left him with incomplete quadriplegia. He can feel and move something below his neck. He has no idea if he's hungry or not. Some things are too hot to touch, like a French fry.
Spencer has made a lot of progress since his first week in intensive care when he couldn't feel or move anything below his neck. At one point, he could move his left arm up to his stomach, but he couldn't move it back.
No movement of the wrist, fingers, or thumb. He also had trouble telling the left from the right side of his body. When his shoulders started to go back, he would shrug his left shoulder, but he thought he was shrugging his right shoulder.
Van Boerum said that when Spencer was first being cared for, no one thought he would be able to move his arms and legs. He said that his progress was crazy.
Going from where he was those first few days and first few weeks where he was doing almost absolutely zero to the point where he’s doing what he’s doing now, that’s not normal. That’s exceedingly rare. He’s the one-in-a-million guy.
- Van Boerum
Van Boerum said that Spencer's recovery was mostly due to his hard work and sheer determination, but he also said that there was another factor at play: the miraculous or unexplainable part, which he called "divine intervention."
Spencer's progress has been helped a lot by skilled doctors, nurses, and therapists, as well as by caring family, friends, and neighbors. With their own faith, constant prayers, determination, hard work, and commitment to each other, they think everything will be fine.
He said to his wife of six years:
Frankly, I wouldn’t want to be here if I didn’t have her here with me.
And Ellis Brown stated on October 18, 2022, on her Instagram post:
Big milestones! Today Spencer stood on his own for 41 seconds! It was his first day trying this - he rocked it!
Spencer played basketball in high school and for a short time as a walk-on at Utah Valley University, where he met Ellis and got a degree in information systems in 2016.
His hands and fingers are working well enough that he can type on the computer and send text messages on his phone. He has also learned to drive the family van, which has controls for people who use their hands.
He hasn't been able to drive for a few weeks, though, because he hurt his neck.
Ellis Brown is a rock star in her own way. She never thought she'd be taking care of someone when she was in her mid-20s, but she's glad she's still young and healthy.
Spencer Brown just graduated and crossed the stage at NYU. Still, they're coming together. Spencer and Ellis Brown took another step on their amazing journey on Monday when they graduated.