Updated 8 months ago by Josh Breslow
The father of a Lexington high school baseball player who after an accident on the water in Florida faces the potential for permanent paralysis says the overwhelming support from the community has been instrumental in helping his son on his road to recovery.
Travis Gaines, 18, a player on the Dunbar High School baseball team was flown to a hospital in Pensacola Tuesday after he apparently dove head-first into the ocean, misjudged the depth, and suffered a serious neck injury. Crews on scene said the high school senior was paralyzed from the chest down when he was taken to the hospital.
"You never except things to happen to you or your family. It's a whole different experience," said Travis' father, Keith Gaines, a retired Lexington Police officer. "He just recently signed with Centre College to play baseball there and go to college there. Just an exceptional kid."
Keith Gaines was in Florida with his son, who was there for a tournament: "Somebody ran up and they told us they were taking him to Pensacola and we had to get there. They were gonna airlift him."
Travis Gaines has been at that Pensacola hospital since the accident. His father told LEX 18 that his son has been able to move his arms and that, so far, it appeared the 18-year-old's spine was damaged, not severed.
"His friends have been coming in from the baseball team and it's a good boost for him when they're here," Gaines said.
Gaines said this challenge has been made a little easier because of the tremendous amount of community support. The Facebook page, "Lets Rally Around Travis Gaines," has thousands of "likes" and includes people posting pictures, stories, and well-wishes to Travis. There have also been several donations from complete strangers.
"We would like to thank everyone for their support and prayers for Travis and Travis would also like to express his gratitude for the amazing amount of support and concern," said Gaines. "Continue praying for him and we would like the next story to be on his recovery and success."
Donations to the Gaines family can be made at Fifth-Third Bank under "For The Benefit Of Travis Gaines."
A fundraiser will be held Saturday at Buffalo Wild Wings locations on Old Todds Road and Broadway in Lexington. A manager there told LEX 18 that if you mention Travis, between 10-15% of your food sales will go the fund set up to help his family.