Overcoming the odds: On the 28th day, he opened his eyes - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Overcoming the odds: On the 28th day, he opened his eyes

By Kim Essex - bio | email

HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) - 36-year-old Michael Sanderson is nothing short of a walking, talking miracle, but to understand why, we need to go back in time.

As a young boy, he had always been fascinated with trucks and dreamed of one day being a truck driver. 

"I just loved them. I'd sit on the corner and do my little honking sound, and they would blow their horns as they came by and I just wanted to drive one," said Sanderson.

Fast forward to 2007, Michael was living his dream and working as a driver for a local concrete company.

"I drove all kinds, 18-wheelers, cement trucks, dump trucks. Drove them all," he said.

In September of that year, all his dreams came to a screeching halt.

"All I remember is telling my old lady at the time I was going to work. She walked me to the door and said I'll see you later, and it ended up being 28 days when I saw her again," said Sanderson.

A horrific accident landed Michael in the hospital. An accident he has no memory of. Somehow the cement truck he was driving overturned, causing all the weight, all 350 pounds, to come crashing down on his head.

The result was internal decapitation.

"My head was being held on just by the skin and muscles. My C-1 bone was gone."

"He had what is called an internal decapitation or cranial cervix. To fix this, we basically go in and put screws in the skull and reattach it all the way up and down the cervical spine," said Michael's surgeon, Dr. John Johnson.

By all accounts, Michael should have died. Most people who suffer such catastrophic injuries do not survive, and of those who do, the vast majority end up paralyzed.

Miraculously Michael defied all of those odds.

He did however lose about 97-percent of his neck movement, and as a result, is now 100-percent disabled.

"I know what I'd lost. All the movement was just gone and I was just emotional, but I was still thanking God I was alive," recalled Sanderson. 

Michael decided to use his second chance at life by helping others. He's written a book entitled "On the 28th Day I Opened my Eyes", an inspiration book that talks about his love of truck driving. A love that almost took his life.

"The message I am trying to get out is to let everyone know to be careful. Live your life for what it is, one day to the next. Tomorrow is not promised," he said.

Michael is currently working on five other books. He is also continuing to pursue his passion for music. He says he has been writing music for the past 13 years, and plans on releasing his first single in the near future.

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