The doctors and staff of a Knysna private hospital nicknamed Pastor Brian Long “Miracle Man” after his remarkable recovery from serious injuries following a head-on-collision in November, 2010.
“It has been four and a half years since the accident and I saw one of my doctors the other day and he was shocked at how well I looked,” says the American born pastor who came to Zimbabwe as a missionary at the age of 25 and moved to Knysna with his Zimbabwean-born wife, Cheryl, and two children, in 2007, after some years of mission work and itinerant ministry in Southern Africa.
Recalling the accident and his recovery, Long, who pastors The Island Church, Knysna, says: “On November 15, 2010 I was on my way to George to pick up my son from school and was approaching the White Bridge, just outside Knysna, and a car coming from the opposite direction hit me head on.
“I don’t remember the accident much; most of my memory comes back when they removed the breathing tube from me after I had been in hospital for about two and a half weeks. I was conscious when I was brought in from the accident for about three days but have no recollection. On the third day after the accident I took a turn for the worse and they rushed me to the operating room. The broken ribs had sliced into my liver, which continued to bleed. I died on the table a few times, but was resuscitated with the eclectic paddles. The doctors’ expectations for me to survive were not high. My lung had collapsed so that is one reason they put the breathing tube in. I had the breathing tube in for about two weeks. During that time I was in a medically induced coma.
Every church in town prayed
“When the accident happened people started praying. One of the first people on the scene of the accident was Richard Meyer, who works for Knysna Emergency response, and is also a pastor. He started sending out texts and people started praying. Every church in town prayed form me as well as people from around the world. For all the time I was in the coma there were people praying in the hospital lobby, some worshiped in the parking lot and others would just sit in their cars outside the hospital and pray.
“My memory starts to come back when the breathing tube came out; then the doctors and my wife told me what had been happening. All I could keep say was that ‘God is good!’. They originally told my wife if I survived I may be in the hospital up to 8 months and would require a long rehabilitation at home. Three days after having the breathing tube removed I was moved out of ICU into the general ward and one week later I was at home. I rehabilitated at home for four months and started back at work. God is good!”
The following 2010 newspaper reports recall the accident, in which the driver of the other vehicle, died, and Long’s recovery process: http://www.knysnaplettherald.com/news/News/General/2985/Yet-another-life-lost-on-N2 and http://www.knysnaplettherald.com/news/News/General/3082/Injured-pastor-on-the-mend.
Some of Long’s injuries were: Right leg: broken femur, broken knee, broken shin and various lacerations. Left leg: various lacerations and damage to the knee. Left arm: broken fingers, broken wrist, torn bicep, dislocated shoulder and torn rotator cuff. Right arm: lacerated elbow, fractured elbow, torn bicep, torn rotator cuff. Body: Right side broken and crushed ribs, torn diaphragm, lacerated liver, fractured sternum and collapsed lung.
I asked Brian what God is stirring in his heart in the present season. His reply: “That life is about ‘experiencing the radical goodness of God’. God is good no matter what. It doesn’t matter what your situation is at the moment He is good. It’s who He is and we are His kids and He loves us. Just being alive is experiencing His radical goodness and of His goodness there is no end.”