Man paralyzed after falling from collapsing hunting tree stand uses his story to teach others

BEDFORD, Va. – A tragic incident is being used as a teaching moment.

Almost 29 years ago, Barry Arrington was paralyzed from the chest down after falling from a collapsing hunting tree stand. Now, he speaks on safety measures to use.

“I want to scare people. I want to let them know the danger out there. It’s just waiting for you to make one little mistake, which I made,” Barry Arrington said.

A mistake that he now is able to share to save people’s lives.

“Unattached my safety belt stood up on the platform, then something gave away and landed on my head,” Arrington said – a 12-foot fall that could have been life-threatening.

“But there are deaths every year as well and if I hadn’t told someone where I was going, I would’ve been one of those,” Arrington said.

We are told keeping people informed of your whereabouts is number one.

“GPS coordinates if possible. keep our phone with us, so we do have that opportunity to be able to call out if something were to go wrong,” Leo George III, a fire marshal at Bedford County said.

Checking your tree stand before is a way to prevent accidents as well.

“For 365 days the trees have been moving and blowing in the wind. nails and screws have been getting loose. Rain and snow have been sitting on that wood, and if it starts to degrade you run the risk of having that tree stand or the platform collapse from underneath you.” George said.

About the Author:

Kelly Marsh joined the team in July 2023.