Hunting Accident File > Safe Hunting?

Holcomb recovery from hunting accident 'a blessing'

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

By Stefan Cooper, Blount Today

Hunter falls from tree stand...

Nathan Holcomb homered during his first trip to the Smoky Mountain Classic five years ago. He was 18, a college baseball pitching prospect and, at 6-foot-8, an athlete of truly biblical proportions.

Holcomb had planned to spend Sept. 18, 2010, deer hunting with longtime friend Eddie Vaughn near Graham, N.C. Holcomb had married Watertown head coach Brandi Baird only four weeks earlier. While Vaughn and he waited, the deer stand Holcomb was resting on let go, the 25-foot drop to the ground below resulting in a broken back, a cracked wrist and five broken ribs. At impact, the former Elon University right-hander had bitten through both sides of his tongue.

“It’s just a miracle he’s here,” said Holcomb’s father, Mike, a Baptist minister.

Unable to walk or call to Vaughn for help, Holcomb crawled back to his four-wheeler on his forearms, rolling downhill on his side when he could.


Hadden had Holcomb immediately airlifted to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Medical Center, where the latter had a pair of titanium rods inserted in his lower back, held in place by eight screws, to fuse five vertebrae.

The surgery took six hours. It would be four months before Holcomb regained full use of his legs.

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