10 Headshot Survivors Who Miraculously Cheated Death
Getting shot in the head usually equates to death, but there are some headshot survivors who somehow managed to cheat death. If you watch movies or TV shows, a bullet to the head means death. This is especially true when it comes to zombies. It kinda makes sense considering the skull holds one of the most important human organs, the brain. But miraculously there have been many accounts over the decades of people who have taken a bullet to the head and somehow survived.
As The Baltimore Sun reports, the survival rate of a headshot is just 5%. What’s even more concerning is that of that 5%, only 60% fully recover, with many left with brain injuries that impact them for the rest of their lives.
When you look at the statistics, it makes you wonder whether living after a gunshot to the head is really worth it. While some, unfortunately, suffer for the rest of their lives, those who make a full recovery get a second shot at life. We’ve scoured the internet for stories about headshot survivors that will shock and surprise and make you realize how deadly firearms can be.
10 Headshot Survivors Who Miraculously Cheated Death
1. Malala Yousafzai
In 2012, Malala Yousafzai was shot in the head by the Taliban. Just two years later she was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize at age 17, making her the youngest recipient of the award. Yousafzai began blogging for the BBC in 2009 as a child, living in the war-torn Swat Valley in Pakistan. She was running a campaign to provide more education for young girls when she was shot.
“In October 2012, a member of the Pakistani Taliban boarded my school bus and shot one bullet into my left temple,” Yousafzai told NDTV. “The bullet grazed my left eye, skull, and brain – lacerating my facial nerve, shattering my eardrum, and breaking my jaw joints.”
Yousafzai has no memory of the incident and after initial surgery kept her alive, had to be flown to the U.K. for further treatment when her organs began to fail. Doctors had to put a titanium plate in her head and Yousafzai undertook six surgeries before she was well enough to leave the hospital. As she recovered she continued to share her thoughts on what was happening in Pakistan and the treatment of women, leading to her winning the Nobel Peace Prize for her activism.
2. Russian Terminator
There isn’t a lot of information concerning this video, but it shows a Russian man having a bullet extracted from his forehead. This incredibly true vision was filmed in 2013 when Russian and Chechen militants got into a gunfight. The unnamed man in the video took a bullet from an AK-47 to his forehead, with the footage showing the man, dubbed “The Russian Terminator,” smiling as his comrades clean the wound and pull the bullet out with a pair of pliers.
The most amazing thing about the video is the man himself, who seems unfazed about having been shot in the head. He is the definition of cool, calm, and collected as he patiently waits to have the bullet removed.
3. Petra Anderson
Petra Anderson was part of the deadly cinema shooting at a Colorado cinema in 2012. The 22-year-old was sitting in the audience for a midnight showing of The Dark Knight Rises when James Holmes entered the screening and began shooting. 12 people were killed and 70 injured, with one of those being Anderson.
Three shotgun pellets entered her arm and one went up her nose and into her brain. It would have killed anyone else, but unknown to Anderson, she had an irregularity of the cerebrum. As CNN reported, Anderson had a birth defect that created a small channel of fluid running through her brain. The channel diverted the bullet away from the brain, saving her from death or brain damage. She was expected to make a full victim recovery from her injuries.
4. Darnal Mundy
Kids should never be near guns, but unfortunately, that isn’t the case in America. You always hear horror stories about toddlers finding their parent’s weapons and getting into trouble, often injuring or killing someone or even themselves. That’s exactly what happened to three-year-old Darnal Mundy, who found his parent’s gun.
Despite shooting himself in the forehead, with the bullet exiting the left side of his head, Mundy survived the self-inflicted wound. It wasn’t all plain sailing though, with part of Mundy’s skull removed to reduce swelling when he fell into a coma. He spent many months in a wheelchair until he was able to use the right side of his body again, making a miraculous recover.
5. Sergeant Alistair McKinney
Imagine being hit by a sniper in the head and surviving. That’s exactly what happened to Sergeant Alistair McKinney. A soldier from the First Battalion Royal Irish Regiment, McKinney was on guard duty in 2005 when a sniper took him out. The Taliban sniper’s bullet entered just above his right eye and exited his skull above his right ear.
It’s reported there was a 0.1% chance McKinney would survive the headshot, and somehow he beat these odds. “The bullet smashed my forehead just above the left eye, went through part of my brain then shot out the side of my head above the right ear,” he told The Telegraph.
McKinney was in a coma for weeks before he finally woke, but he still had a long road ahead. He caught several infections while in the hospital and has been left blind in the left side of both eyes, but is slowly nursing his way back to health.
6. Patrick Ireland
The Columbine school shooting was one of the most horrific events in recent American history. On April 20, 1999, the date of Adolf Hitler’s birthday, Dylan Klebold, 17, and Eric Harris, 18, entered Columbine and began shooting students and staff. 12 students and one teacher were killed during the pair’s rampage, with the two committing suicide before they could be captured.
One of the most well-known survivors of the attack was Partick Ireland, whose left side of his body was paralyzed after a bullet entered the left side of his brain. Ireland crawled 50 feet across the ground to an open window before launching himself out, where he was caught by SWAT team officers Donn Kraemer and John Ramoniec. The incident was captured on film and Ireland became known as the “Boy in the Window.”
Ireland also had a second head wound and his right foot was shattered. While doctors managed to save his life, Ireland faced months of rehab. It took him seven months to learn how to walk, talk, read, and write again. Despite all the adversity he faced, Ireland returned to Columbine for his senior year and now works in the finance industry and is married with three children.
“You have to believe that tough times don’t last, but tough people do,” Patrick told the Mirror in a 2019 interview. “I was so determined not to let my shooters win. I believe the world is still good at heart. People need to hold on to that. Evil will not win. There are too many good people in the world.”
7. Richard Norris
Profiled in GQ magazine, Richard Norris survived a shotgun blast to the face. He was just 22 in 1997 when he shot himself in the face, although he can’t remember why he did it. Most people would have died from this type of damage, but Norris survived, although half of his face had literally been blown off.
Hideously scarred, Norris would wear a black mask when out in public, while all mirrors in his home were taken down. It was around ten years after the shooting that Norris’ mother happened upon Eduardo Rodriguez, a doctor who was experimenting with facial reconstruction. Norris became the third person to undergo the surgery that involved grafting tissue and skin from other parts of Norris’ body to his face. It took several years and over a dozen procedures before Norris had one final operation in 2012. Lasting 36 hours, the operations completed his facial reconstruction.
Norris looks like a changed man and you can hardly even know he has been shot in the face. Now full of confidence and happy to be seen in public, Norris is living his best life.
8. Paul Kern
The tale of Paul Kern is one of the strangest involving someone being shot in the head. During World War I in 1915, the Hungarian soldier was battling the Russians when he received a gunshot wound to the head. The bullet entered his frontal lobe and exited the back of his head. For most victims, a wound like that would be fatal, but Kern managed to survive. It wasn’t all plain sailing though, with Kern having an unusual side effect; the inability to sleep. No matter how long he lay in bed with his eyes closed, Kern couldn’t get to sleep.
Kern sought out many different doctors and tried a slew of remedies but nothing worked. He traveled the world looking for a cure but to no avail. He would often have to sit down and relax for several hours a day to rest his optic nerves, but still, he never slept. He was also troubled by headaches. Kern spent his time reading and learning, often visiting friends and trying to make the most of the extra time he had.
Despite the unusual circumstances he found himself in, Kern lived for another 40 years, eventually passing at 71.
9. Tammy Sexton
People often do strange things when under intense stress, and Tammy Sexton is the perfect example of this. In 2019, her husband was on probation for domestic violence abuse when he entered her home and shot her in the head before turning the gun on himself. When police arrived they found Sexton sitting in a chair drinking tea.
The slug from the .380-caliber handgun entered her forehead and passed through her skull and out the back of her head. Amazingly the bullet didn’t hit any major parts of the brain and after a short stay in the hospital, Sexton was released without any long-term injury or mental health issues from the trauma.
10. Jacob Miller
An estimated 620,000 soldiers died during the Civil War, and after copping a musket to the middle of the forehead, not many thought Jacob Miller would survive. At the violent Battle of Chickamauga, Miller was left for dead on the battlefield. Somehow he managed to hobble to safety where he was treated by doctors at a Union hospital. Afraid to remove the bullet in case he died, it wasn’t until Miller returned home to Logansport that local doctors Graham Fitch and Henry Coleman successfully removed one-third of the musket ball.
Miller suffered severe headaches and chronic pain due to the injury. He also reported two occasions when lead from the musket still lodged in his head fell out. “Seventeen years after I was wounded a buck shot dropped out of my wound and thirty-one years after two pieces of lead came out,” Miller said. Although he couldn’t work, Miller would marry and have a son and live to the ripe old age of 88, making the most of his second chance at life.
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