Doctors say Matt Gordon may never recall the wreck that put him in the hospital, but he is showing signs of improvement even as members of the community band together to support him and his family.
Gordon, 19, was on his way home after spending the evening of Nov. 7 hanging out with his friends, according to close family friend Christine Grubb.
“The police told us he apparently fell asleep at the wheel,” Grubb said. “He was driving on Old 53 near Ward Mountain Road when his truck drifted across the road and down an embankment and hit a drainage ditch.”
He was taken to Erlanger Medical Center in Chattanooga, Tennessee — the region’s only Level 1 trauma center. A week later, he’s still at Erlanger, in critical condition.
Grubb said he has multiple fractures, including one bone broken in his right leg, multiple bones broken in his left leg, multiple facial fractures, two broken ribs and a fracture on the back of his skull.
“His brain is swelling slightly,” added Grubb. “But he hasn’t gotten worse. He is responsive, but they keep him sedated most of the time so he can heal.”
Gordon is expected to have surgery on his legs and plastic surgery for his face either this weekend or early next week.
“Eventually, they plan to transfer him to the Shepherd Center in Atlanta for physical therapy,” Grubb said. “He has a long road ahead of him, but they say he will recover.”
Gordon is a 2014 Model High graduate and the Model and Johnson communities have joined forces to help him and his family with medical expenses.
“Model Elementary already raised $500,” Grubb said. “This community’s support has been unbelievable. His parents have received so many gift cards, donations, food — all kinds of things to help them.”
Gordon’s parents, Kerry and Cindy Gordon, have been at Erlanger since he arrived. “They are staying at the Ronald McDonald House up there,” said Grubb.
Another avenue of support, the Prayers for Matt Facebook page, has been a source of comfort.
“His mother and I are posting updates about Matt’s condition,” explained Grubb. “So many people are posting messages to Matt. When he is better, he can read them all.”
Grubb and a friend plan to set up a Go Fund Me page to help with expenses, and they are now selling T-shirts that say “Team Matt,” as well as armbands saying “Matt Strong.” The shirts are $15 up to the extra large size and $17 for larger sizes. Armbands are $3 each or two for $5.
People may pre-order the T-shirts and purchase the bracelets by calling family friends at Dean’s Collision Center at 706-290-0062 or stopping by the business at 1544 Calhoun Ave. Anyone wishing to pre-order or donate may also call Grubb at 706-346-2801.
During the tailgating event before the football game at Model High School (map) today, Grubb plans to set up a table so people may pre-order shirts and bracelets. Tailgating starts at 5:30 p.m. before the 7:30 p.m. game. If someone can’t make it to the game, Dean’s will be handling pre-orders from 2 to 6 p.m. Saturday, Grubb added.
Grubb said she’s been friends with the Gordons for 27 years, and her son and Gordon grew up together.
“We’re like family,” she said. “He’s like a second son to me and that phone call I got that day was the hardest phone call ever.”
She said she knows Gordon will recover.
“He’s a very, very strong kid,” she said. “He’s strong and he’s stubborn. He will bounce back.”