Florida man breaks neck, back while vacationing in Colorado

Family will spend months in Colorado for intense rehab before returning

Sawyer Bartell in a Colorado hospital bed after breaking his back and neck while on vacation (Copyright 2021 by WKMG ClickOrlando - All rights reserved.)

Sawyer Bartell, 28, has been in the hospital for about a week now. The Altamonte Springs man vacationing in Colorado with his wife, Sara, when he broke parts of his neck and back. His wife said he was in an accident while they were at a pool.

“It instantly paralyzed him. We’re not sure if he’ll ever walk again,” Sara Bartell said.

The couple has two kids, a 2-year-old and a 7-month-old. Both are staying with family in Central Florida.

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“It’s extremely difficult for us both. I know for Sawyer especially. He said he just wants to be a father. The potential that he can’t hold them is really hard for him,” Sara Bartell said.

Bartell said her husband will have a long road to recovery after two emergency spinal surgeries. She said they may have to stay in Colorado for a longer period of time, while Sawyer undergoes intense rehab. She said Sawyer can move his arms, but said doctors are unsure whether he’ll regain feeling below his chest.

“The plan is at least three months to be able to get him stable enough to get on a plane. Having a place to stay, meals to eat, that’s what we’re dealing with,” Sara Bartell said.

Sara and Sawyer Bartell with their two daughters (Copyright 2021 by WKMG ClickOrlando - All rights reserved.)

A GoFundMe account has been created by their family to help with medical expenses and other costs while Sara and Sawyer Bartell are out of work. Sara Bartell said she plans to fly her children to Colorado to be with their dad.

“I try and think short term because long term there’s so many unknowns: with our daughters, with his health and with our jobs. What is the future for us? How can we take care of our family,” Sara Bartell said.

Sara Bartell said she is hopeful, taking it one day at a time and thanks the community for their support and prayers.


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About the Author:

Crystal Moyer is a multimedia journalist who joined the News 6 team in February 2020. Crystal comes to Central Florida from WKMG’s sister station, WJXT in Jacksonville, where she worked as a traffic anchor and MMJ.