Sébastien Bellin, the former captain of the Belgian national basketball team, is recovering in the hospital after narrowly surviving the terror attacks in Brussels that killed 31 and revealing what kept him going during the harrowing experience.
“I remember seeing an explosion, the first explosion near the pharmacy at the airport,” Bellin, who was at the Brussels Zaventem Airport during the two explosions on Tuesday, told Good Morning America. “I turned my head and I saw all these people running and when I got there, I think I blacked out for a little bit.”
He described his thoughts when he tried to escape the departures hall at the airport: “The whole time I told myself I was gonna make It, I’m gonna make it, I’m gonna make it.”
Bellin, 37, was severely injured and rushed by ambulance to a nearby hospital’s intensive care unit, PEOPLE learned on Tuesday.
“That’s the point: When I was in the ambulance I knew I was all right. Until then I had no idea,” Bellin said, fighting back tears.
An Oakland University graduate, Bellin currently plays center for Gent Hawks of the Belgian league. On Tuesday, a Facebook post from his wife Sara Bellin said that Bellin’s leg was “split in two almost.”
“He’ll have to have another surgery as his hip is broken too,” Sara wrote. “And there are bomb fragments in him still. He’s in a lot of pain but he said nothing compared to what happened to other people. He was a lucky one he said.”
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Bellin told Good Morning America he stayed strong throughout the ordeal by focusing on his daughters. “I didn t want my girls to grow up without a dad,” he said.
“It’s funny how many things you think of,” he said of fighting for his life. For example, he said he drew strength from thinking of how his 7-year-old daughter is working on her tennis game.
” ‘Man, I gotta get through this because she needs her coach’… It’s just some of the things that go through your head,” shared Bellin. “It seems so trivial, but you gotta get through those moments.”