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Safe Hunting?

Hunter Breaks Neck when Tree Stand Falls

Waynesboro Record Herald, PA

By Shari Sanger The Record Herald.

GREENCASTLE - Tessa Martin and her daughter Brittany were Christmas shopping in Hagerstown Monday when they got some frightening news.

Her husband and two sons had been injured when the tree stand in which they were hunting in Needmore, Fulton County, fell and toppled to the ground.

Robert D. Martin, 38, of 6350 Montgomery Church Road and his sons, 10-year-old Brook and 9-year-old Brogan, were in the tree stand at 7:30 a.m. Monday when wind blew it from the tree, according to Tessa Martin.

"It blew out of the tree with them in it, but they all stayed inside," she said. "It had been in the tree for 12 years."

Robert, who works at Frick Co. in Waynesboro, suffered a broken neck, while his sons escaped with minor injuries.

Robert built the wooden tree stand. The base was made of angle iron bolted into the tree.

After the fall, he managed to stand up, walk out of the woods and drive home, she said.

Call for help

After arriving home, Martin phoned his niece, who drove him and his two sons to Waynesboro Hospital.

Brook got several stitches and Brogan had a bump on his head, Tessa Martin said.

Robert was airlifted from Waynesboro to Hershey Medical Center, where he underwent a five and a half hour surgery Tuesday to repair the shattered fifth vertebrae in his neck.

"He was in excruciating pain until after the surgery," Tessa said.

Doctors said they expect no paralysis and a full recovery, which will take at least two months, according to his wife.

Robert was discharged Thursday and is wearing a neck brace, she said.

Tessa said her family members tried to have her paged in various stores, since she does not have a cell phone.

"They finally found us at Toys "R" Us," she said, noting they immediately left and drove to Hershey.

"He can lift up to 10 pounds, but he can't drive," she said. "He's a lot better now. He's restless and weak, but he has no pain like he did."

A wake-up call

She said her husband has always hunted, but the accident was a wake up call.

"He's very lucky," Tessa Martin said. "Other people need to be aware that this sort of thing can happen."

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