For Teresa Martinson, her husband’s lone hunting trips were always nerve-racking. She’s been married to 58-year-old Philip Martinson for five years, and she tries to be as supportive as possible.
The 59-year-old Minnesota resident told Dearly that despite not having any interest in hunting, she’s even gone out with him several times so he wouldn’t be alone, explaining:
“I know it’s something he loves to do so I’ve kind of learned to say OK.”
But now, she might have a different opinion.
Around two weeks ago, when Teresa received a call from her husband while she was at the market, she knew something was wrong:
“He called me and just said you need to come home right now, and I need to go to the hospital. I didn’t know what had happened, he didn’t say what happened, so I drove home as fast as I could. He was hunched over and I could see something was wrong on his face, so I went very fast to the hospital.”
Unbeknownst to her at the time, Philip had broken his back after falling 14 feet from his hunting stand in a tree.
Furthermore, Philip managed to crawl from where he fell in the woods approximately 20 feet to his car, throw his deer stand into the back, get in the driver’s seat and drive the three or four miles home to Teresa.
Teresa told Dearly that after falling, he knew he was in bad shape, but he had no idea where his cellphone was. So, instead of calling for help, he told WCCO he “stayed there a while and gathered my thoughts,” before doing whatever it took to get help.
Dr. Uzma Samadani told WCCO his L-1 vertebrae was broken in three different places and things could have been a lot worse:
“I think he’s extremely lucky, because when the spinal column is broken in both the front and the back, many patients become paralyzed or very weak in the lower extremities.”
That fact alone is something Teresa can’t believe, even now:
“When I realized his back was really broken and he crawled up there … I still shake my head when I think of it. Because at any point he could have been paralyzed. There was a piece of bone nearing his spinal cord, but all I can say is he had angels and the Lord watching out for him. Because he did drive back home as well — three to four miles. If he would have been a half hour away, I don’t know what we would have done.”
She told Dearly that after her husband’s close call, aspects of his hunting passion are going to have to change:
“My first thing I said at the hospital is I don’t ever want you to do this alone again and you have to have somebody with you. I can always go sit in a truck. It’s something that we’ll see what happens next fall.”
Philip told KARE 11 he just hopes people learn from his mistakes:
“I didn’t follow three cardinal rules of safety. Number one, when you’re setting up a tree stand, have someone with you. Number two, wear a safety harness or a safety vest. And number three, attach that tree belt around the tree. It’s cumbersome, it’s actually annoying. But it’s there for a reason.”
And Teresa offered her advice on how to make sure loved ones who are passionate about hunting stay safe. She told Dearly:
“I believe you say a prayer every time someone goes out and hopes everything goes well. I trust that everything [Philip] does he’ll do safely. And ask your husband or loved ones if they’re using their safety equipment. The tree was too big for the tree belt and he didn’t think to tie two together. Ask if they’re using the safety equipment; it happens in a split instant.”
Thankfully, Philip will be OK, and he is now recovering at home with his loving wife. His future in hunting, however, is now unknown.
Of course, the thought of Philip going hunting alone, after everything that has happened, is a very scary thought for Teresa, but she said she feels “tremendously blessed” for the way it all worked out.
Watch Philip’s interview below, via WCCO: