By Melissa Smith
Bryson Richey, 13, invited friends over for a back-to-school sleepover. An ATV accident turned the August party into a tragedy.
Richey, along with his friends, were riding an ATV when the vehicle tipped over. Richey was trapped underneath. His three friends tried to find help.
Richey’s leg was severely injured, and he could not support any weight. Once emergency responders arrived, they flew the teenager by helicopter to Huntsville Hospital, where Richey underwent surgery to repair fractures and clean wounds.
A couple of days later, the doctors determined blood was not flowing to Richey’s leg from the calf and below, and it was amputated.
About 50 people were at the hospital during the surgery in support of Richey. Many coaches from DeKalb County, as well as athletes, visited the hospital. “It was amazing,” Bryson’s mother, Danielle, says. A special visitor who came was Brandon Williams. He is a 12-year-old boy who is also an amputee. He really encouraged Bryson.
Another amputee, Josh Dean, also visited Bryson. “He bought him a shower chair and lent us a wheelchair,” says Danielle.
Richey also received phone calls of encouragement from University of Alabama head football coach Nick Saban and Auburn University head football coach Gus Malzahn.
The calls and cards keep coming, and several churches and individuals have helped with medical expenses. “We stand amazed at the love people have for Bryson and how much they want to help him,” Danielle says.
Richey, an athletic boy who plays football, basketball and baseball at Plainview High School, is determined to get back on the field. In honor of his tenacity and spirit, the Bryson Strong 5K, Fitness Walk and Fun Run will be Nov. 8 at 2 p.m. at the Rainsville Civic Center. Bryson’s dad, Brian, has been a part of the FTC team for several years. His teammates have already taken several steps to support the family, and will take many more during the event. All proceeds from the run will go to the Bryson Richey Fund.
Richey had hopes of being able to run the race with a prosthetic, but he has a severe soft tissue injury that will take more time to heal. Now, Richey goes daily to the Marshall Medical Wound Healing Center for hyperbaric oxygen chamber treatments and wound care.
“I know God put us here for a reason — so we would have the support and love of so many kind people,” Danielle says.
For more information about how to register, check out the Bryson Strong 5K Facebook page.