Coley overcomes life-threatening situation; community aids
Published 12:03 am Thursday, June 4, 2015
VIDALIA — With his family present, Kyle Coley wheeled his way into the Concordia Recreation Complex to see his former teammates in April.
Coley, who was the starting catcher for the Vidalia Vikings in 2014, was succumbed to a wheel chair, but former teachers, current friends and Vidalia fans, alike, were thrilled to see Coley back at the ballpark.
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“It was kind of bittersweet because I wanted to be out there,” Kyle said. “I couldn’t for two reasons — I graduated and all of this happened.”
What happened was a fight for his life.
Less than a month ago, the Coley family was down and out with what they believed to be the flu. After a few days passed, Coley was not only sick but his body was aching. His mother, Lisa Coley, felt under the weather, as well.
“I said, ‘Kyle, it feels like somebody has beaten me up with a 2X4,’ and he said, ‘Momma, that’s how I feel,’” Lisa said.
After Lisa’s husband, Kevin, took the family to the afterhours clinic Friday, March 6, they received confirmation that they had the flu, except, Kyle kept getting worse during the night.
After Kyle couldn’t get out of the bed to go to the bathroom, Kevin took Kyle to Natchez Regional Medical Center’s emergency room.
“He couldn’t even stand up,” Kevin said. “We got him to the emergency room, and they put him on a stretcher out of the car because he couldn’t get out.”
The doctors ran tests on Kyle, and the results were worrisome. As it turned out, Kyle wasn’t bedridden because of the flu.
“They said, ‘Let’s do a spinal tap,’ and when they put the needle in his spine, he didn’t even flinch,” Kevin said. “I knew then that something was wrong.”
What was once thought to be the flu transformed into a spinal abscess that temporarily paralyzed Kyle. He was transported from Natchez Regional to University Medical Center in Jackson in a helicopter immediately, and the doctor in Jackson told the family that Kyle would need surgery Sunday morning to drain that abscess out of his spine. He also informed the family Kyle may never walk again.
“Well, you know, that’s a shot to the gut,” Kevin said. “A 19-year-old kid that never slowed down, played sports and went hunting all the time, you know? The first few days we weren’t sure if he was going to make it, as far as living.”
Meanwhile, Lisa found out she had pneumonia. With son, wife, and even his mother in the hospital with a staff infection, Kevin spent most of March in Jackson by his family’s side.
Thankfully, Kyle’s surgery was successful, and after hearing he might not walk again, Kyle took it as a challenge.
“I told (the doctor) straight up I was walking again,” Kyle said.
Months later, Kyle made good on his promise, and Wednesday afternoon, he sat in his wheelchair playfully kicking at his father.
With Kyle back home with his parents, and the community supporting the family through t-shirt sales, money raised for an orthopedic bed, a donated hardwood floor for Kyle’s wheelchair and even borrowed mats for physical therapy, the Coley family have found means to combat the large hospital expenses.
“Just the ride from Natchez to Jackson in the helicopter alone was $38,000, and the insurance has only paid a fourth of it,” Lisa said.
To help support the family, Abundant Life is having a garage sale at 7 a.m. Saturday. To show her gratitude, Lisa wanted to thank everyone in the community for the support they’ve shown.
“People have just coming out of the woodwork,” Lisa said.
As for Kyle’s recovery, he’s on the fast track. Kyle was able to walk from one side of the house to the other, but still uses a walker to get around. His future plans are to attend Copiah-Lincoln Community College in the fall, whether he uses a hand-controlled car or regular car depends on his rate of recovery.
“Kyle is making progress every single day,” Lisa said. “This is the kid the surgeon told us wasn’t going to walk again.”