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Cougar athlete, Walters, continues to recover

By DAVID GRAVELYBrandon Walters

When it really counts and when it really matters … Pulaski County comes together.  That statement has been proven to be true time and time again over the years.  It was proven again over the past few months, due to a severe accident involving a Pulaski County High School student.

On Saturday, October 27 there was an accident involving Brandon Walters and his sister, Eve Walters.  Eve suffered some bumps and bruises, along with some back pain, but was otherwise unharmed.   Brandon was not as lucky.

They were both riding on an ATV when it flipped over, and Brandon was caught underneath the machine as it rolled over.  The resulting injuries included a torn liver, damage to his lungs, a spine injury, a broken shoulder, and some pretty nasty cuts and damage to his face and head.

“Sometimes you have to wonder why things seem to happen,” said their mother, Missy Thomas.  “As hard it is not to question “why” when life gives you situations beyond your control, you can never lose faith that God is the one in control of every situation. Even though we would like to not see or have any tragedies in our lives, it can happen to anyone at any time.”

As severe as the accident was, the recovery has been a tough one.  Brandon first had to endure a long hospital stay.  During the early stages of his recovery, he was kept in a medically induced coma to allow his body time to rest and heal.  There were several surgeries performed.  His doctors worked to repair the damage the best they could, but were forced to work on his worst injuries first and hold off on some of the others until his body could handle it.  He was kept on a ventilator for several days, giving his lungs time to heal.  Of the three chest tubes that were put in place initially, the final one was removed just over a month ago.

After he was allowed to wake up from his coma there were some good days, but there were also some tough ones.  At one point he was having problems digesting food, and doctors thought his gall bladder may have been damaged.  There were days when his blood counts would bottom out, and then on other days fluid would build up and cause him problems.  Fevers, infections, and several other issues continued to hamper him, but he kept on working with the doctors to recover.

On December 4, his mother finally got her wish.  Brandon was released from the hospital to come home in time for Christmas.  His medical recovery continues, and at this point he is still doing his school work from home to get caught up.  There is still therapy several times per week, but his mother realizes how blessed she and her family are.

“Our family cannot express how thankful and blessed we feel for all of the kindness that has been shown to us since Brandon’s accident and during his recovery phase,” said Thomas.  “I am so humbled by God’s love and I am proud of the strength, courage and continued faith that Brandon has had during this time.   I know that God has a plan for Brandon and I am excited to see what the future holds for him.”

As has been the case time and time again in the past, our community took care of their own.  “Brandon, myself and our entire family have been overwhelmed by the support from the community,” said Thomas.   “So many churches added Brandon to their prayer lists, including those from other states.  We are members of Max Creek Baptist Church, but it is a blessing to know that regardless of denomination we come together in prayer when one of our own is in need.  I hope that we continue to lift one another up because we all have trials that we face on a daily basis.”

“We want to thank everyone for the prayers, gifts, cards, flowers, food and fundraisers, as well as the time spent visiting Brandon and keeping him in your thoughts. You will never know how your actions comforted me and my family during this time.  I want to thank everyone individually, and I am so afraid I will leave someone out.  Please know that if I do, it is not intentional.”

One individual who went above and beyond was Sunni Dunford.  “Sunni was our family coordinator during this time and I will be forever grateful to her,” said Thomas.  “Not only did she coordinate who stayed with Brandons twin brother Albert and sister Eve, she also set up and maintained a FaceBook page (Brandon Walters Get Well Soon) that has allowed us to give updates to his friends and the community.”

“Sunni, Cheryl Chrisley, Paula Blevins, Leslie Queen, Missy Burks, Christy Davis, Melonie Rupe and Brandon’s Aunts from Florida, Sharon Miller and Sandy Patterson were all huge helps to us.  Each of these ladies took time away from their own families and obligations to help keep Albert and Eve’s lives as normal as possible.”

Brandon is now beginning to get out of his back brace, and all of his internal injuries have healed.  He continues to receive physical therapy and is getting stronger and working toward a 100 percent recovery.   In the end, Thomas knows that there is a long list of people that she will be thanking, but one final thought summed it all up.

“When things seemed to be really tough, we came across a prayer:  ‘Father, there are times when we can’t pray for ourselves because the burden is just too overwhelming. Thank you for sending your angels to intercede for us in our times of need. Amen.’  We cannot express how much we are grateful for all of you and how you have been our angels during this time.”