DeKalb County Fire Captain battles spinal cord injury after head-on collision, family says

Family starts fundraising campaign for journey to recovery
Dekalb County Fire Captain battles spinal cord injury after head-on collision, family says
Published: Jun. 24, 2023 at 11:06 PM EDT|Updated: Jun. 24, 2023 at 11:22 PM EDT
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ATLANTA, Ga. (Atlanta News First) - Family members are asking for prayers and support for DeKalb County Fire Captain David McBrayer, who they said was in a “serious head-on collision” in Snellville on June 11th.

The family said while McBrayer was on his way home from work, another vehicle crossed the center line on a two-lane road, which they claim it struck the captain’s SUV causing it to go into a ditch.

McBrayer said for the last two years, he’s been on a health and wellness journey and dropped 100 pounds by working out at Stone Mountain.

“I’ve got a routine where every morning I get off from the fire department, I go and climb Stone Mountain and I carry a 50 kettlebell and then I do 500 push-ups on the way up and then I usually hit the gym later that evening,” McBrayer said.

McBrayer said that the pattern was stopped when the crash happened.

“I was heading home from work and that particular morning it was raining, and I always climb Stone Mountain when I first get off shift, but when it being rainy, and it being a Sunday, I was like I’ll go ahead and head home. Maybe take a nap and just go later,” Captain McBrayer said. “I turned on the road and the next thing I knew I woke up in the ER and I was about to go into surgery,” he said. “It was later on that I found out that somebody had come into my lane, hit me head-on, caused me to flip, and then hit a power pole,” he said.

Captain McBrayer is now in a neck brace, a wheelchair, and is paralyzed from his chest down.

“Can’t even describe going from you know exercising almost daily to now just stuck and you can’t even move,” McBrayer said.

“It was determined that he had an incomplete spinal cord injury which means that he will hopefully regain some mobility. He has been told there’s a 50 percent chance he’ll be able to walk and of course, you have to go through rehab and give the spine time to heal, and the swelling to go down to find out where you’re going to be, or how much you’re going to recover. So that’s unknown,” said Frances McBrayer, the captain’s mother.

On Monday, the 36-year-old, was released from Northside Gwinnett Hospital to start therapy at Shepherd Center. Frances said when he was released, Gwinnett Fire and Emergency Services were present.

McBrayer is now undergoing physical and speech therapy five days a week at the Shepherd’s Center.

“It’s different being on the opposite side, from providing care to now receiving care,” McBrayer said.

The family said McBrayer’s road to recovery will be lengthy and costly.

“He’s going to have a lot of bills. A lot of needs as he goes along in this journey and one of my sons has started a Go Fund Me for him and we would appreciate any donations to that to help with his medical expenses. He does have a home that obviously he can’t live in right now. He’s going to be with us,” Frances said.

According to the Go Fund Me, they’re fundraising for at least $250,000. The family said DeKalb County Fire Rescue and the community have been so supportive thus far, including many doctors. Now, they’re leaning on faith to help McBrayer bounce back.

“God has done a ton of work in my life these last two years. You know, I would think being on my weight loss journey to over 300 days of no alcohol and I know he’s got a plan and a purpose for my life, and he has never once let me down, and I know he is here with me every step of the way,” McBrayer said. “I really want him to use my life and my story to showcase what he can truly do,” he said. “He’s worked all these miracles the last two years, and this is the time where he can really show what he’s capable of,” McBrayer added.