Florida

A monkey snatched his Steelers cap. Now this Florida man is fighting for his life.

A Destin, Florida, man could not abide a monkey running off with his favorite Steelers cap — not even if the monkey had a head start and is more nimble than a grown man, and both man and monkey found themselves atop a rooftop in Bali, Indonesia.

But that’s the predicament Jeff “Swede” Swedenhjelm found himself in on Monday when he opted to chase the rascally monkey that snatched his cap. Unfortunately, the Pittsburgh Steelers fan fell 33 feet to the ground in the pursuit and is now fighting for his life in a hospital on the Indonesian island.

Villagers found Swedenhjelm, 40, who is known as “Swede” to his friends and family, and brought him to a hospital. Doctors there determined he had severe damage to his spinal cord and is currently paralyzed from the chest down.

The height that Swede fell from, about 10 meters, is the same as a regulation-sized 10-meter platform, such as the one on the University of Miami pool deck that divers such as Greg Louganis once trained on to prepare for the Olympics.

UM DIVE TOWER33
The dive tower at the University of Miami is an Olympics-sized 10 meter platform. That’s 33 feet from platform to pool surface, the same height a Destin man fell from roof to ground in Bali while chasing a monkey on a roof. HOWARD COHEN hcohen@MiamiHerald.com

The ground is a lot less forgiving than water, however.

Swede’s daughter Lyric Swedenhjelm, 20, told the Northwest Florida Daily News that her father, who left the Florida panhandle city to work in Bali, is in bad shape. Aside from the paralysis, he’s fighting pneumonia, and she’s worried he’s not receiving suitable medical care. He didn’t receive an MRI for almost 24 hours after the accident, according to the family. He’s in a medically induced coma and on a ventilator. She told the Emerald Coast paper that “our utmost concern is to get Swede out of Bali and into a country with a spinal specialist.”

Lyric Swedenhjelm still lives in Destin with her mother, Swede’s ex-wife. The family set up a GoFundMe page to raise money to get her father flown to a Singapore hospital for better medical care — which, they say, could cost about $30,000, and that’s not counting future medical care. As of Sunday, the site has raised more than $58,000 toward their $100,000 goal.

“He has a great team of friends that have been by his side,” she told the newspaper.

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