(KMOV.com) – Mike Vipperman’s life changed forever when he fell 20 feet from a deer stand on September 21.

Hunter recovers

On the right is Mike Vipperman

“Broke my back, and collapsed my lung and broke some ribs,” said Vipperman.

He was able to call his wife and his 9-year-old son Maverick then brought help to his father.

“I call him my hero,” Vipperman said.

He was airlifted to a hospital but said things looked bleak.

“I landed, I knew my back had broke. Instantly, I had no feeling in my legs,” said Vipperman.

Vipperman’s surgeon, Dr. Matthew Goodwin, said he didn't know if Vipperman would ever walk again.

“We’re not very good at predicting how much people get back from those injuries,” Goodwin said.

However, after the surgery, Vipperman said he could wiggle his left foot and somewhat move his left leg. More than a dozen screws were placed in his spine and he has a long way to go before his life is back to normal.

He said he has a renewed sense of gratitude this holiday season.

“The thankfulness that just floods your heart just because you can get up and walk down and shop at Walmart with your family,” said Vipperman.

He said that the experience has made him a better person and brought his family closer together.

“I don’t know if I could’ve said that in the first week but now, looking back, you definitely can see how God can take something that just looks bleak and he can turn it around for good,” Vipperman said.

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