Caleb Lindsey – luckiest mandolinist alive

Caleb LindseyCan you imagine anything more frightening than learning that someone you care about has suffered an accident with a chain saw bucking up and striking them in the face? Every image that comes to mind is too gruesome to consider.

And yet Caleb Lindsey, the 20 year old mandolinist with Kentucky’s Lindsey Family, took such a blow to the head while cutting wood this past weekend, and while some facial reconstruction surgery was required, he was home 24 hours later almost as good as new.

It’s a testament both to the care and diligence of his family who got him to the attention of medical personnel right away, and the skill and dedication of those who treated him, that Caleb was not more seriously disfigured. The blade of the saw caught him just below his eye and cut down into his cheekbone. Amazingly, there was no damage to his eye and after his scars are healed, this handsome young man will be right back to singing bluegrass and Gospel music with his family.

In fact, their hope is that he will be able to join them this weekend as they take the stage at the SPBGMA Nashville convention on Sunday as the winners of last year’s International Band Championship. Caleb is recuperating now at home, and it’s a bit too early for him to think about that just yet.

We caught up with his mother, Tammy, earlier today and she shared some of the details of their very busy Saturday.

The family of 13 lives in a converted school building, which is heated using a woodburning boiler. Each year they have several trailer loads of wood delivered, and have scheduled work days where friends and family help with cutting and splitting the logs. Of course, only the men and older boys run the power saws.

As you hear so often regarding tragic accidents like this, Tammy says it all took place in a flash.

Caleb Lindsey“The accident happened in an instant so no one knows exactly what caused it. It appears that the tip of his chainsaw got caught in a log next to the one he was cutting, and it kicked back. Since he was leaning over, it went to his face. Realistically, it might have been avoided by more careful attention, and Caleb recognizes that, which makes the emotional processing a bit harder. But he is strong and actively seeks to embrace what he needs to learn from the situation.

He was surrounded by people and rushed quickly to a local hospital and then flown to the University of Louisville Trauma Center where surgeons worked for three hours, and did an absolutely beautiful job of transforming what looked hopeless into a scar. Just a scar. He was home in less than 24 hours where he is being attended constantly by his sisters!

The real miracle is in his eye. Though his cheek bone was broken and he had to have a plate put in below his eye, with stitches below the eye and on his eyelid (and eyelashes missing), his eye checked out without a scratch to the eyeball and with 20/20 vision! We’re so thankful! He also has every one of his expensive (braces) teeth in place! A relatively small thing, but something he is very thankful for!”

Truly a miraculous story, as well as a faith-affirming one for all involved.

If Caleb is able to make the trip to Nashville this weekend, we’ll make an effort to speak to him about his ordeal.

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About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.