Tuesday, March 4 2014, 07:05 PM EST
Rescued Climber Talks About Fall that Broke Her Back
"I feel lucky to be alive more than anything else."
Brittany Decker, 23, of Kennesaw, Georgia was carried away from "T-Wall," a popular rock climbing spot in Whitwell on February 22nd.
"I very narrowly avoided paralyzation" said Brittany.
I spoke with her Monday at Erlanger hospital, where she's been for last week after her fall of about 40 feet.
"I was kind of sketched out about it from the beginning," said Brittay.
She calls herself an experienced climber. The Kennesaw State senior frequents Marion County to climb. She's also traveled to China for rock climbing as well, but wet conditions and soft rock made her climb at "T-wall" live up to its name.
"The corner that I fell off of is a 5-9 called "it ain't so easy," said Brittany, laughing about the irony of the name.
Its hard to tell because of her positive attitude, but Brittany shattered a vertebrate in her spine, fractured her skull and bruised several other bones.
"It's pretty incredible that she's even alive, let alone walking just a few days later," said Lisa Decker, Brittany's mother.
Lisa had just arrived in Mexico for a vacation 6 hours prior to her daughter's accident.
"We had limited email, limited phone, limited internet, so it was really frustrating," said Lisa.
After several days, Lisa was able to get back to the US to be by her daughters side.
"Our only thoughts were that we wanted to get back here with her and make sure everything was going well," said Lisa.
Brittany had emergency surgery to set her spine in place. She happened to be climbing with first responders, who knew exactly how to keep this bad fall from becoming a paralyzing disaster.
"They stabilized me and kept me from freaking out," said Brittany.
Brittany says rock climbing takes focus and calm. The 23 year old now uses those talents to ensure a speedy recovery.
"I'm excited to get strong and go climb again," said Brittany smiling.
Brittany says she likely won't try that same climb again, but will visit the area as soon as possible.
She was transferred to Emory hospital in Atlanta to complete her rehab. She also plans on graduating this spring from Kennesaw State University.
By Drew Bollea