13-Year-Old Maryland Boy Miraculously Survives Fall Where 6-Inch Nail Pierces His Brain

Dr. Shenandoah Robinson, Dr. Alan Cohen and Darius Foreman at Johns Hopkins Hospital (USA Today screenshot)

There must’ve been an angel by this kid’s side ... because somehow he survived a fall in which a nail attached to a board went through his skull and pierced his brain.

In fact, Darius Foreman not only survived but was able to go home on Thursday—his 13th birthday—after a dangerous and delicate neurosurgery at the Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore.


USA Today reports that on Jan. 20, the seventh-grader was at his aunt’s house building a treehouse when he fell from a branch. As he landed, a 5-foot-long board with a large construction screw fell on top of his head, penetrating his skull and brain.

Darius Foreman (USA Today screenshot)

“I thought something was stuck in my hair,” Darius said to USA Today on Friday, but admitted that by the time he got to the hospital, he was “in a lot of pain.”

After Darius fell, his two cousins immediately ran to get their mother, who found Darius walking around the yard with a giant board stuck to his head. She made him lie down and called 911.


Paramedics cut part of the board in order to fit him into an ambulance. After he was taken to Peninsula Regional Medical Center in Salisbury, Md., he was medevaced to Johns Hopkins—but only after state police offered their helicopter because the hospital’s chopper was too small to accommodate the plank of wood.

X-ray of Darius Foreman’s brain (the Johns Hopkins Hospital)

Scans of Foreman’s brain showed what looked like a screw going right into the superior sagittal sinus, the large pipeline vein that drains the blood from the brain to the heart.

Dr. Alan R. Cohen, chief of pediatric neurosurgery at Hopkins, said that because of the screw’s location, it was “like a ticking time bomb.”


“We went slowly and carefully, and we managed to get the thing out,” he said.

The surgical team also removed a small blood clot that had formed, then placed a titanium plate in Darius’ skull.


Darius will continue to be on intravenous antibiotics for another week at home, but otherwise, he came through like a trouper.

Whatever you believe in—luck, Jesus, Jehovah, Allah, the Great Goddess or other—he/she/they/it should be thanked over and over again.

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Angela Helm

Ms. Bronner Helm is a Contributing Editor at The Root. Mouthy Black Girl. Rosalynn Carter Mental Health Fellow. Shea Butter Feminist. Virgo Sun, Aries Moon.