Matt’s Story
Welcome to our CaringBridge website. We are using it to keep family and friends updated in one place. We appreciate your support and words of hope and encouragement. Thank you for visiting.  

Our son, Matthew Branch,  was involved in a near-fatal hunting accident on Friday 12/28/18 in Mississippi.  A group of family members and friends were on a duck hunt. They had wrapped up a successful hunt and had gathered to decide what to do next.  Shotguns were loaded and one of the duck dogs jumped in the Ranger which unexpectantly caused a gun to misfire which hit Matt in his femoral artery at close range.  A split second freak hunting accident.  Everyone got still in confusion until Matt yelled out and dropped to the ground.  His buddies and cousin immediately responded beyond their normal abilities.  9-1-1 was called and Matt was driven out of the duck blind to the nearest point on the highway to meet up with an EMT response team.  No one realized the amount of blood that was being lost because it was flowing through his waders into his boots.  His friends worked hard to keep him conscious on the way to the highway which wasn't an easy task.  Once they got there, two of them were able to lift this 6'6" solidly built, former LSU Offensive Lineman out of the Ranger and onto a hillside to keep his leg elevated.  He was then transported to the nearest Medical Facility - Merit Medical Center in Vicksburg.  There, he was immediately taken into surgery to save his life by attempting to stop the bleeding.  They were able to stabilize him enough to have him flown to University Medical Center in Jackson, MS - the state's only Trauma Center.   He's been in ICU at University since Friday evening and in order to save his life, we had to make the choice to amputate his lower left leg.  He's not out of the woods yet and its a long road to recovery, but we're getting positive signs by the hour.  We're so thankful to everyone who has called, texted, and put him on their prayer lists and chains.  We believe in the power of GOD.  It's miraculous that he's made it this far and I believe there's a purpose for all of it.  

I will be posting notes about his progress daily as we go through this journey.  Please feel free to add comments or messages of encouragement here on this site.

"Jesus replied, what is impossible with man is possible with God." Luke 18:27

"Everything is possible for one who believes." Mark 9:23

"For no word from God will ever fail", Luke 1:37

"I am the Lord of all mankind.  Is anything too hard for me?" Jeremiah 32:27

"For you created my inmost being; you knit me in my mother's womb.  I praise you because I am fearfully made; Your works are wonderful, I know that full well." Psalm 139: 13-14

"Hearing this, Jesus said to Jairus, "Don't be afraid, just believe and she shall be healed." Luke 8:50


Newest Update

Journal entry by Brenda Tarver

Today marks the 52nd day that Matt has been in Jackson since the accident.  Sweet home Louisiana is getting closer by the day!  He's been at Methodist Rehab for a little over a week and has learned so much already.  The most uplifting and important thing for him has been learning how to be mobile.  He uses a wheelchair when he needs to get from point A to B quickly, but he's working hard to master the use of crutches and a walker.  His wound continues to heal, and his plastic surgeon has started removing some of the stitches.  It is so amazing how the body can heal from such a tremendous wound like that, another one of God's daily miracles!  Throughout this journey, Matt has never felt alone....he's had so many friends and family reach out to him and visit him daily. Your prayers and their words of encouragement give him the fuel to move forward.  

But what has been AWESOME are the number of people who have reached out without even knowing Matt. Many are amputees who have been where Matt is right now.  We've even had parents of amputees reach out to us to offer comfort and support.   They've all shared their amazing stories and answered so many of our questions...even ones we didn't know to ask! Each one is a living testament to what strength and determination can accomplish. They have all risen above their disabilities to become leaders in their careers (many in the prosthetics field), in motivational speaking, therapy and sports!    

When I think about the strength that Matt will have to continue to find within to face each new challenge, I know that it's not enough.  Do any of us have that kind of strength?  Not hardly.  But the GREAT NEWS is we CAN do all things through Christ who gives us strength!  

Philippians 4:13 - I can do all things through him that strengthens me.

In 2010, Matthew West released a song entitled "Strong Enough."  I hadn't heard it in quite a while until last night when my iPod happened to shuffle to it.  The words resonated through me and touched me in a way they never have before.  If you haven't heard it, give it a listen!

Isaiah 38: 16-17 - You restored me to health and let me live. Surely it was for my benefit that I suffered such anguish. In your love you kept me from the pit of destruction; you have put all my sins behind your back.

Jeremiah 33:6 - Nevertheless, I will bring health and healing to it; I will heal my people and will let them enjoy abundant peace and security.

Proverbs 4:20-22 - My son, pay attention to what I say; turn your ear to my words.  Do not let them out of your sight, keep them within your heart; for they are life to those who find them and health to one's whole body.

Matthew 11: 28-30 - Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.
Patients and caregivers love hearing from you; add a comment to show your support.
Can you help power Matt's site?

A $30 donation powers a site like Matt's for one month. Help keep CaringBridge online for them and for you.

Show Your Support

See the Ways to Help page to get even more involved.

Personal Fundraiser
Support Links
Helpful Tasks