ALBANY, GA (WALB) - South Georgians are stepping up to help a friend who suffered a life-altering spinal injury in a hunting accident two weeks ago.
Daniel Castellanos suffered two spinal cord tears when he fell from his tree stand. Now his friends are asking the community to help his recovery.
Daniel Castellanos' friends say he is making an amazing recovery at the Shepherd Center in Atlanta. An avid hunter, two weeks ago Castellanos went on a deer hunting trip with Vine Church pastor Jamie Baggett, when he fell 25 feet from his climbing tree stand.
"He said, man I feel like I broke my back. I'm in so much pain," Baggett said. Castellanos was in critical condition with broken ribs and punctured lungs, but also serious spinal cord injuries. Friends are amazed by his recovery so far.
"In a short 7 to 10 day period he's already so far advanced beyond what anybody expected him to do," friend Jamie Knight said.
But paralysis could result from the serious spinal injuries. Castellanos is a popular volunteer soccer coach and church leader, and many folks are stepping forward to help him in his recovery.
"That's what's been so important. Kind of seen this outpouring community support. I think people just get it. They know what kind of guy Daniel is," Knight said.
"You don't expect things to happen this way, but it's amazing how the community does pull together and show it's support and love for somebody during a trying time like this," Baggett said.
Friends will hold an organizational meeting Thursday night at 6:00 at the Lee County Hardee's, as they rally to help a friend in need, as he recovers from a tragic accident.
Friends say Daniel Castellanos fell because the chain on his tree stand broke. Experts say it's important to buy a good quality, tree stand. But it's equally important to check and maintain your equipment.
"Each year they should go out and check those stands thoroughly. From straps to chains to bolts. They are made to be in a tree, but overtime the weather can actually get those things rusted out," said Shane Lee of Backwoods Outdoors.
Experts also urge hunters to use all the safety equipment and harnesses with the tree stands, taking the extra time because your life is on the line.