By Jessica Connor
LEXINGTON — On March 5, 12-year-old Alex Bowers was playing golf in a high school fundraiser at Lexington Country Club with his pastor, his family and others from his home church of Mount Horeb United Methodist.
In an instant, his life was forever changed. After hitting his tee shot from the front tee, Alex was making his way back to the golf cart, not noticing that the Rev. Jeff Kersey was already mid-swing. Alex tried to get down. But unfortunately, it wasn t quick enough. Kersey s ball slammed full-speed into Alex s head above the right eye, knocking the boy unconscious.
Within minutes, as medical help was frantically called to the scene, Alex remembers waking up hearing prayers lifted for him by family and friends. He was transported to the hospital, where he spent the next four days, also undergoing emergency neurosurgery to save his life. He has been recovering at home ever since.
By all accounts, his friends, family and pastor said, it was a miracle.
On June 3, Alex stood up before hundreds of worshippers at Mount Horeb UMC and gave his testimony: how God is the God of miracles, how with God anything is possible, how he won t stop until everyone knows the sky is the limit to God s power.
Alex s injury was extraordinary. It is said people have a one in 1,000 chance of being hit by a ball on a golf course and one in a million that a person would survive an injury like his.
It was almost like an out-of-body experience. Did this actually happen to us? You cannot even put into words how grateful you are because you are never expecting something that traumatic to happen to your child, said his mother, Melanie Bowers. Even Alex has said, ˜Sometimes I wonder if that was really me.
But from the start, Alex s family trusted God to be in control of the situation.
It s one thing to trust God or thank God after He gets you through the trial, but another thing to trust God in the storm, and from the beginning, they trusted God through the storm, Kersey said of the family.
I knew, having worked in medicine a long time, the only way he was going to make it through his injury was if we let go and gave it to God, Bowers said.
Bowers said it was God s intervention through Dr. Sharon Webb, a neurosurgeon at Palmetto Health Richland, that saved Alex s life.
Dr. Webb had a gut feeling to do surgery immediately and not wait, Bowers said; three other doctors had suggested the family wait two weeks for the swelling to go down, then consider surgery. After the surgery, the first thing she said was, ˜If you had taken him home he would have been dead in 24 hours.
It turned out infection had already begun to set in, and the surgery saved Alex s life.
But in addition to healing young Alex, Kersey and the Bowers family had another fervent prayer. In the hospital, we prayed that God would become more famous through this, that through this, we would speak what God has done, Kersey said.
And indeed, that is what has happened.
After Alex s recovery, word quickly began to spread in the community about the boy s miraculous recovery. Instead of dying, Alex lived “ and even continues to play golf. He was playing just weeks after his injury. And on June 4, he played his first full 18 holes since the accident.
God didn t cause this, but God is using this for His advantage, Alex told the congregation June 3.
Praising a God of second chances, Alex preached the message with Kersey about no longer taking things for granted. Just the fact that he was able to celebrate his 13th birthday weeks after the accident was a miracle. Alex called upon the congregation to always be willing to extend a second chance to others, just like God does for us.
Alex and Kersey are calling the accident Alex s mulligan. In golf, Kersey explained, a mulligan is a do-over.
In a friendly match, if your first golf shot is not very good, a friend might say you can have a mulligan, a do-over, Kersey said, noting it is critical we remember that God gives us second chances through His grace all the time.
To help people remember Alex s mulligan, they passed out thousands of golf tees at the end all four Mount Horeb services that weekend, with the words This is your mulligan and Mark 10:27 printed on them. That verse of Scripture reads: Jesus looked at them and said, ˜With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.
Kersey compared what happened to Alex with what happened to Lazarus in John 11:40. In the Lazarus story, Jesus knew Lazarus was going to die, but he basically said, ˜Watch what I can do with this. He said, ˜Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God? Kersey said. In Alex s story, God didn t cause me to hit him in the head with a golf ball, it was a freak accident. But God says, ˜Watch what I can do with this.