From coma to playing ball, watch this boy's remarkable journey


From coma to playing ball, watch this boy's remarkable journey
  1. From coma to playing ball, watch this boy's remarkable journey
    usatoday.com
    Garrett, 10, was struck by a van. Six months later, watch his stunning…
    Top Stories

MILSBORO, Delaware -- The 10-year-old boy was attempting to retrieve two baseballs that went over the park fence on Iron Branch Road near East Millsboro Elementary School. He darted out into the street, failing to notice the oncoming Ford van.

"It happened so quickly," she said. "He was just being a kid.”

Garrett was transported by ambulance to the Beebe Medical Center in Lewes. After a brief stay, he was transferred to A.I. duPont Hospital for Children in Wilmington, where he was put in a medically induced coma for a month.

At times, they weren't sure if he was going to make it.

"They told me he would most likely walk and talk, but not much was known beyond that," Wendy Rogers said. "I told them, 'You don't know Garrett.' "

"He's a fighter"

When Garrett came out of the coma, he couldn't move his body.

He was hooked up to dozens of life-sustaining machines, with broken bones and a rod through his right leg.

He could barely open his eyes. But he could move his fingers.

So he communicated with loved ones through thumb war.

"That's Garrett for you," Wendy Rogers said. "He's a fighter."

After the accident, thousands of people took to social media and posted under #GMoneyStrong, to show their support. The Facebook page where the family posts updates of Garrett's recovery has 5,704 likes.

Jamie Davis, owner of JD Shuckers Seafood Grill and Raw Bar, hosted a fundraiser with live music, raffles, and a silent and live auction that raised nearly $22,000 to help with medical bills. Davis held the event on June 22, in honor of Garrett's baseball number.

"Garrett was a phenomenal athlete, one of the best I've ever seen," Davis said. "He inherited it."

Garrett's father, Kirk, was a wrestling state champion and his grandfather, Dave Rogers, played numerous sports and took to a life of coaching.

Although doctors said he would likely never play again, Garrett was determined to prove them wrong.

He spent three weeks in ICU, slowly regaining his strength.

Every victory after the coma, like the first time he laughed or when he held his own head up, was celebrated.

And the triumphs kept coming.

Garrett began turning syllables into words, and words into sentences.

"He did better than anyone expected," Wendy Rogers said.

Once his condition was stable, Garrett spent another three months at the hospital.

He said his time there was,"tough and scary," but it had its perks.

The 10-year-old boy was a huge hit with all of the nurses, got warm blankets after every bath, and was visited by family, friends and even several celebrities, including Bryce Harper of the Washington Nationals, Kirk Cousins of the Washington Redskins, Wilmington native Justin Perillo of the Green Bay Packers and Kevin Reilly, a former NFL player who is currently a broadcaster for the Philadelphia Eagles Network and a motivational speaker.

"We had so many people rooting for us," she said. "The love and support we received was overwhelming ... and wonderful."

"Forgiveness always sets you free"

Garrett doesn't remember anything about the accident, in fact, he doesn't remember anything about the entire day.

His last memories are of the day before, of his 10th birthday, specifically, of his mom bringing cupcakes to school and taking him and some friends to the movies afterward.

"It was the best birthday ... I heard the next day wasn't so great," he said, a mischievous grin spread across his face.

The man responsible for the accident was John Swift, 54 of Millsboro.

Police said after hitting the 10-year-old boy, he immediately pulled over. Swift was uninjured, and cooperative. But he wasn't completely innocent.

After further investigation by the Delaware State Police, he was charged with his third offense of driving under the influence of alcohol, driving while suspended or revoked and failure to have insurance in possession, according to Master Cpl. Gary Fournier of the Delaware State Police.

Swift said in a statement that he "was sorry."

Although he nearly ended her son's life, Rogers said she has forgiven him.

"Hating him won't change what happened ... it won't change where Garrett's at right now," she said. "Sometimes you have to forgive in order to save yourself. Forgiveness always sets you free. "

Finding a new normal

It has been six months since the accident…

Tags: #Ball
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