Girl, 7, paralyzed when teen jumps on her back while swimming

Published: Aug. 25, 2022 at 3:42 AM EDT
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WZTV) - A Tennessee family is leaning on faith after a 7-year-old girl was paralyzed in a freak accident while swimming.

The Faulkner family believes 7-year-old Sarah Faulkner will walk again. She was hospitalized at Vanderbilt in Nashville with injuries that happened when a teenager jumped on her by accident from a 30-foot rock while she was swimming Aug. 6 at a campground in Waverly.

Sarah is paralyzed from the lower chest down. She also had to have 19 staples in her skull.

Sarah Faulkner, 7, is paralyzed from the lower chest down and had to have 19 staples in her...
Sarah Faulkner, 7, is paralyzed from the lower chest down and had to have 19 staples in her skull after a teenager jumped on her by accident while she was swimming.(Source: Faulkner family, WZTV via CNN)

“She said when the girl landed on her back that her whole body froze, and she hit her head on the bottom of the creek and, evidently, drove her all the way to the bottom,” said Sarah’s father, Tre Faulkner.

Even after a frank conversation with Sarah’s doctor, the Faulkners, a very close, Christ-centric family, believe the little girl will walk again.

“I said, ‘Sir, man to man, just tell me the truth: will she ever walk again?’ He said, ‘No, I do not believe so … but there is something out there more powerful than me,’” Faulkner said.

The family knows this is a big request, falling under the word “miracle,” but that’s what they are counting on.

“I believe God can and will heal my daughter. I need a miracle. My wife needs a miracle. My children need a miracle. You need a miracle. Our country needs a miracle to show that God is real and God is alive,” Faulkner said.

The teenager who jumped on Sarah ran away in the confusion. The family said they prayed to ease her pain, as well, after Sarah said they should forgive her.

“I asked her what she thought we should do with the girl, and she said we should forgive her. So, we literally prayed for the girl. We can’t imagine what kind of pain she is going through right now,” Faulkner said.

Sarah’s condition has been improving while she’s been hospitalized, her family said.

“Last night, she moved her feet … just barely moving them. So, we’re believing that God is in the process of healing this girl for his glory and his honor,” Faulkner said. “Sarah will walk again.”

The Faulkners are encouraging others to pray for Sarah. In addition, a GoFundMe set up to help the family has raised more than $18,000.

According to the GoFundMe page, Sarah and her family are now in Atlanta to begin therapy.