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Young Burn Survivor Explains how - Stop, Drop and Roll - Saved His Life

Parkland Sr Physical Therapist Kim Grouzard works with Brayden Crandall after burn injury

From their earliest days in school students across the country are taught a simple fire safety technique known as “stop, drop and roll.” For 11-year old Brayden Crandall, it’s a lesson that may have saved his life.

On April 18, 2020, Brayden, who was 9 at the time, was watching as his father, Mike, burned large fire ant mounds that formed in the garden behind their Aubrey, Texas home. With the first mound destroyed, Mike began to pour gas on the second not knowing that the two were connected. The result was a large explosion that knocked Mike off his feet and shot flames toward Brayden. His mom, Jennifer, had just opened the back door when she heard the explosion. The frantic parents rushed toward their son in a desperate attempt to rip the burning clothes off Brayden and quickly extinguish the flames engulfing him.

Remembering what he had been taught, Brayden said, “If your clothes catch on fire you should stop, drop and roll. That’s what I did.”

Both father and son were airlifted to Parkland Memorial Hospital’s Regional Burn Center. There, Mike was treated for burns to his legs and hands, as well as a dislocated shoulder he sustained in the blast. He was discharged after three days in the burn acute care unit.

Brayden’s injuries were far more serious, with burns on his abdomen, face and both legs, as well as his back and arms. He was admitted to Parkland’s burn intensive care unit. With burns to 51% of his body, Brayden spent a combined 53 days in the burn unit. Jennifer, who miraculously did not have any injuries, spent every day in the hospital with their young son.

Parkland’s Burn Center is the only adult and pediatric burn center in North Texas verified by the American Burn Association – a status Parkland has maintained since 1996. This achievement recognizes Parkland’s dedication and commitment to providing high quality burn care to patients from North Texas and the surrounding areas. The center is a comprehensive burn unit that provides the latest research, technologies and products for the treatment of burn-related injuries that result from flames, chemicals, electricity and scalds. The center also provides treatment for complicated skin infections and disorders.

From October 2020 to September 2021, Parkland’s burn center admitted 847 patients. Of those, 312 were the result of fires, and 31 of the 312 patients were children under 14-years old.

Throughout his hospitalization, Brayden stayed positive and said the most important thing to do was “listen to the doctors.” He pushed through painful debridement procedures, which Mike said caused him to “cry like a baby” when he realized his son would also have to endure the painful process of having his wounds cleaned and the dead skin, tissue and residual material from dressings.

Brayden has also had 5 skin graft surgeries, laser treatments and took part in twice weekly physical therapy sessions to help him get back to soccer and his teammates. Today, he’s doing “amazing,” according to his mom, Jennifer.

Now back to his normal life, what sets this active 11-year old apart is his desire to educate others on fire safety as well as how to treat a burn survivor, especially when they have visible injuries and scars. He recently participated in a Parkland Burn Center school re-entry video that helps students understand what a burn survivor is going through.

“Brayden has always been brave and is comfortable sharing his burn story and scars,” Mike said.

Telling his story has also included tips for others. “Be as far away from a fire as you can. Always go find an adult when you see a fire,” Brayden said. “And if you have a phone, call 911. If you do get burned, fight through it and say calm. And at the hospital do what the doctors say.”

For more information about services available at Parkland, please visit

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