A Florida man now living in Bali is paralyzed from the chest down after he fell from a roof while chasing a monkey that had stolen his favorite Pittsburgh Steelers hat, reports say.
Jeff “Swede” Swedenhjelm was diagnosed with severe damage to his spinal cord and was briefly in a medically induced coma after falling 33 feet from the roof when the animal took off with his hat on Dec. 18, WPXI reports.
“He’s like, ‘That’s my hat, I need it,’ ” Swedenhjelm’s daughter, Lyric, told WPXI. “And you know Steelers Nation is everywhere, but in Bali, it’s a lot harder to come by, to buy a new hat, so he wasn’t going to let it go very easily.”
The family set up a GoFundMe page to cover Swedenhjelm’s medical and transportation expenses. By Tuesday, the father looked to be in good spirits, appearing in a Facebook Live video from his hospital bed. In the video, Swedenhjelm’s friend, Scott Wells, detailed the incident, noting that Swedenhjelm is “lucky to be alive.”
Wells said Swedenhjelm first encountered the group of monkeys on the Indonesian island when he took shelter under a pavilion to get out of the rain.
“One reached down and grabbed his favorite hat off his head. His favorite Steelers hat off his head — which, if you know him, he ain’t just gonna give that thing up,” Wells said in the video. “So he climbed up on the roof of the pavilion, a huge pavilion. It was multi-stories, from what he told me, and he walked on the roof.”
Wells continued: “[He] got up to the second floor, got up to the third floor and he was trying to get the monkey to just drop it and run away. That’s the last memory he had.”
Swedenhjelm was shown in the hospital bed, laying with the famous Terrible Towel draped across his torso.
“He didn’t get the hat back,” Wells revealed. “Damn monkeys. They took it.”
Villagers took Swedenhjelm to a local hospital, the Associated Press reports. And he has undergone several surgeries since the incident.
Along with raising more than $75,000 for Swedenhjelm’s recovery, his family has organized several pub crawls in his honor and have posted several updates on his health. Even in the days after his recovery, Swedenhjelm was cracking jokes and encouraging those around him, according to Lyric.
“His spirits are still high, even though he can’t move from the chest down he laughed about that stupid monkey,” she wrote in a Facebook post.
On Wednesday, Wells revealed in a Facebook post that Swedenhjelm’s latest surgery went well.