Waking up as the car slid into a ditch, Derrick flailed at the steering wheel. The car swerved toward the road before careening back into the ditch and slamming into a culvert. Derrick was thrown into the ditch as the car finally slid to a stop and the still of night returned. Reaching behind his head, Derrick felt his feet. He realized that his body was folded in half, backward.
After numerous examinations and many hours in the emergency room, Derrick and his parents were joined by a doctor who said he had bad news. "Son, I'm sorry. I don't know how else to say this. But you're never going to walk again. You're going to be in a wheelchair for the rest of your life."
At that point people began to get on the phone to request prayers from anyone who was spiritually intact with God. Derrick says, "Everyone I knew was praying for me. I prayed for my legs back and just overall help from God to get through this hard situation."
Derrick drifted to sleep. An hour, maybe two, had gone by since the doctor told him about his spinal injury and the poor prognosis for his legs. A nurse walked past and nonchalantly brushed Derrick's feet. "It woke me up out of a sleep. I asked her what she was doing," he recalls. "She told me she was just tickling my feet. All of a sudden, we both realized that I had feeling back and something needed to be done very quickly." In less than an hour, surgeons were planning an operation to take place a few days later.
Derrick was transferred to Tennessee Christian Medical Center for rehabilitation after the surgery. One of Derrick's therapists, Sandy Foster, says "I think everyone here believes in the power of prayer, which is really important. I think that rubs off on the patients, as well. They see that faith and it gives them something to grasp onto – knowing that God is there and prayers are answered." Derrick himself describes his recovery as phenomenal and thinks it would have been impossible without prayer.