Posted on January 27, 2022

Brothers’ bond stronger than ever a year after sledding accident

On a beautiful winter’s day a year ago, Jaden and Jurian Shaffer were excited by the new fallen snow, eager to go sledding with friends. But a tragic twist of fate changed their lives forever.

The boys were being pulled behind a snowmobile when their sled struck a tree. Jurian, 13 at the time, broke his leg. Jaden, then 10, sustained a traumatic brain injury and broken pelvis in the Jan. 27, 2021 incident. Jaden spent two weeks at Bronson Methodist Hospital in Kalamazoo before transferring to Mary Free Bed to begin rehabilitation. Jurian was able to return home eight days later, but with a long recovery ahead.

Jaden’s brain injury affected his speech and motor function, but after 11 weeks of intensive therapy with Mary Free Bed Kids – and lots of FaceTime calls with Jurian – he was able to graduate and return home. With continued outpatient therapy, Jaden can walk without assistance and is getting stronger every day.

The family is grateful to the Otsego community for its support during the past year, including their North Point Church and Otsego Public Schools families. Both boys are back in school full-time – Jurian in ninth grade and Jaden in fifth.

In this video, the Shaffers share the boys’ amazing stories of recovery and how their faith, friends and Mary Free Bed family helped them along the way.

Jaden’s rehabilitation included aquatic therapy to practice walking.


Jaden Shaffer in therapy pool

As part of occupational therapy, Jaden plays with snap circuits to improve dexterity and strength.

Jaden Shaffer in physical therapy

Mary Free Bed therapists often disguise therapy as play.


Jaden Shaffer in physical therapy

Jaden’s brother, Jurian, also was seriously injured. They’ve grown even closer during their recovery.

Jaden and Jurian Shaffer