Fenton – The goal of the Thursday, July 8 football game at Fenton High School wasn’t to win or lose – it was to support a teammate who is in the hospital recovering from a brain injury.
In mid-June, recent FHS graduate and football player Jimmy Myers fell backwards down a flight of stairs and hit his head against a brick wall. He was rushed to Hurley Medical Center for emergency brain surgery.
As he recovers, his teammates, friends and community have rallied around Jimmy and his family to show their support and help raise money to pay medical bills.
His mother, Maureen Myers, said Jimmy’s friends are “120 per cent” involved in every step.
“It is beyond words. It’s incredible. They are so incredibly graceful. Right away they took care of everything for us,” Myers said. “I didn’t know what to do, who to turn to, and I could have gone through this blindly and alone without Jimmy’s dad and those guys would have made it through for me.”
Jimmy’s father is Jason Myers.
His friends and teammates started the “Jimmy’s Fight” fundraiser right after the incident. Fenton student Zoe Eakes started the gofundme called “Help for Jimmy Myers & family”. FHS Senior Ava House held a fundraiser at the Fenton Farmer’s Market during the Street Experience on July 1. His mother, Carrie House, owner of the Avenue 19 store in Fenton, designed shirts for “Jimmy’s Fight.” They sold shirts and bracelets at the farmers market and had to order more. Shirts sell for $20.
In addition to participating in a fundraising soccer game, some students volunteered to mow the Myers lawn and do other helpful activities. Jimmy has been playing football since he was 5 years old. He played for the FHS team and for the Genesee Nationals.
When the accident happened, Jimmy was walking up stairs in tight spaces with a friend arm in arm. They lost their balance and backed off. He managed to turn his friend, so she landed on top of him and was unharmed, Myers said. His head hit a brick wall.
Myers said Thursday’s game day was a “really awesome” day for Jimmy.
After emergency surgery, he was in a coma for some time. When he came out he had a setback last week and was immobile for a few days. He’s better now. He is no longer on a ventilator and has a feeding tube.
Myers said Jimmy could move his limbs and shoulders. The nurses pull out a whiteboard he can write on so they can communicate. He and his mother have their own “I love you” wave that he did for her on Thursday.
On July 10, she posted on Jimmy’s Fight Facebook page that he was out of meds and could communicate and move more.
“He’s doing really well,” she said. “He’s making progress.”
They don’t yet know the extent of the brain damage or other neurological damage he may have. After he is discharged from the hospital, he will go to a hospital facility for drug treatment.
“The medical bills will continue until he plays football again, but he will get there. He will get there,” Myers said. He was planning on going to Northwood University to play soccer in the fall.
Ava House said it had a group chat with about 30 people.
“He’s just been a really good friend to all of us, and when it happened, we all got together and started planning ideas on how to fundraise. It was quite natural,” she said.
She described Jimmy as “very energetic”.
“He was always very optimistic. I’ve been friends with him for three years now and I’ve never seen him in a bad mood. He’s always kept everyone happy, he’s always energetic, always up and dancing and making sure everyone is involved. He was just a really good friend to us,” she said.
After seeing so many people get involved in fundraising, House said, “It’s really good, I could cry,” which is a sentiment shared among their group of friends.
FHS football coach Matt Sullivan, who organized the game on Thursday, said: “Jimmy’s family were blown away by the incredible turnout. It was so special to see members of the Lake Fenton and Linden soccer communities supporting us. It shows how much everyone loves Jimmy. This game is just one example of how everyone came together to help him and his family.