Utah man injured while helping fly American flag in Twin Falls, Idaho

Sep 15, 2023, 6:27 PM | Updated: Sep 21, 2023, 3:13 pm

SALT LAKE CITY — It is safe to say the American Flag means a lot to Brent Jensen.

His home is full of them.So, naturally, when the group Follow The Flag went to Twin Falls, Idaho earlier this week to hang a large American Flag across the Snake River Canyon, Jensen had to be a part of it.“It is stunning. Beautiful,” he said. “The mission of the flag is to honor, heal, and inspire people and it really does that to people.”It’s the healing part of that mission Jensen is now doing himself. 

Bret Jensen in front of flag

Brent Jensen was hanging a large U.S. flag in Twin Falls, Idaho when a bowling ball-sized rock fell on his head. (Brent Jensen)

Only, it is in a way he never expected.“I definitely have more work to do, I guess, because I shouldn’t be here,” he said.

 Jensen, who is also a member of the Davis County Search and Rescue team, was coming back up out of the Snake River Canyon after the large flag was unfurled when he realized he left his cell phone below.

So, he decided to repel down to get it.“They were going to haul me back up with the rope system so luckily that was all set up to haul me back up,” he said. “And yeah. Made the choice not to wear the helmet.”

Not wearing a helmet was a mistake he admits he will never make again.

Just as Jensen got to the ground, a rock from above fell and hit him on his head.

That rock probably got loose from his repel down.

“When the rock hit me, it cracked open my skull. I have a depression fracture in the back of my head,” said Jensen.

MRI of Jensen's skull injury

This medical image shows the depression fracture that the rock left in Jensen’s skull. (Brent Jensen)

The rock was the size of a bowling ball and fell nearly 20 feet.

The impact also broke a piece of Jensen’s vertebrae, and his back, and left him with a concussion.

He was taken to the local hospital, and then to Salt Lake City, but doctors say, amazingly, he is okay and will make a full recovery.

Jensen was already walking right after the incident.“It’s a miracle. Truly a miracle,” he said “I will make a 100% recovery. I’m almost 50, I know I will have some aches and pains, but I’m okay.”

He also admits he knows better than to repel without a helmet.

“I’m always a proponent for wearing a helmet,” said Jensen. “I push that and force that and I just made a silly choice up there. I know I needed the helmet.”

He agreed to talk about the incident because he hopes others will learn from his mistake.“Even if you have done it a thousand times, it just takes once, right? Just one time,” said Jensen. “I would hope people see my injuries and think what a lucky guy he is and next time they take the thirty seconds to run to their truck and grab their helmet for whatever it is they are doing.”The Follow The Flag group is planning on taking down the American Flag from the Snake River Canyon on Saturday.

Jensen is already on his way to be there, even if he knows he can’t help in the way he would like to.“We make friends everywhere we go to with this group,” he said. “It changes people’s lives. That’s what it’s all about.”

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Utah man injured while helping fly American flag in Twin Falls, Idaho