Teen paralyzed after deadlifting 660 pounds — but his injury was even worse

A teenager who thought he’d slipped a disk in his back while deadlifting 660 pounds was initially sent away from the hospital after losing sensation in his legs — only to find his paralysis was caused by a rare undiagnosed tumor.

Brandon Hackett, now 20, was diagnosed with Ewing sarcoma in 2021 — a tumor that occurs in the bones or in the soft tissue surrounding bones.

Hackett, then 19, first started experiencing back pain in July 2021 when training for a weightlifting competition, according to South West News Service. The teen visited his doctor and was told the pain was due to having tight muscles, so he started undergoing physiotherapy.

However, the pain continued and spread into his stomach, with the UK teen recalling walking home from a shift at work and experiencing tingling sensations down his legs.

When he returned to the doctors, he was told it was likely sciatica, which is nerve pain in the leg that is caused by irritation or injury of the sciatic nerve, according to the Mayo Clinic.

The pain persisted, coming to a head when he attended the Leeds Festival in August 2021 and noticed his legs were feeling weak on the Saturday of the music event.

Brandon Hackett was left temporarily paralyzed due to a rare, undiagnosed tumor.
Brandon Hackett/ SWNS (2)

When he woke up Sunday, he was struggling to walk.

Hackett collapsed at home and was taken to hospital, where he was told to go home. He collapsed again and returned to the hospital, needing a walker to help him move.

“I’m quite a chill person, so I wasn’t really too worried but I was confused and thought ‘this is not normal,’” Hackett told SWNS.

“It was really scary and weird with a tingling sensation that didn’t go away. Every time I tried to move, it was like my whole body was getting electrocuted,” he continued. “It felt like my legs were cemented to the floor and I couldn’t even move my toes.”

Hackett, now 20, had to learn to walk again after undergoing treatment.
Hackett, now 20, had to learn to walk again after undergoing treatment.
Brandon Hackett/ SWNS

Tests revealed that something was compressing his spine, and by the time he was transferred to Sheffield Hospital, he couldn’t even stand up.

Hackett underwent emergency decompression surgery and gradually began to regain some movement in his legs and was eventually diagnosed with Ewing sarcoma.

The cancer hadn’t spread, luckily, and Hackett began treatment in October 2021.

Hackett was taken to hospital after collapsing twice where he was diagnosed with Ewing sarcoma.
Hackett was taken to hospital after collapsing twice.
Brandon Hackett/ SWNS

Following chemotherapy, Brandon slowly began to regain movement and began to teach himself to walk again.

“I had to spend an entire week lying on my back to reduce swelling in my spinal cord,” he said. “It was a relief when I started to get movement back towards the end of the week.”

Hackett was told he’ll make a full recovery and has even started visiting the gym again, adding that he’s only just started physiotherapy but is able to walk without help.

“I just take a stick in case I lose my balance,” Hackett, who is planning on becoming a personal trainer explained. “The tumor is gone now and scans have come back all clear.”

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