Fenton — The point of the soccer game Thursday, July 8 at Fenton High School wasn’t about winning or losing — it was about supporting a teammate who’s in the hospital recovering from a brain injury.
In mid June, recent FHS graduate and soccer player Jimmy Myers fell backwards down a flight of stairs and hit his head on a brick wall. He was rushed to Hurley Medical Center for emergency brain surgery.
While he recovers, his teammates, friends and community have rallied behind Jimmy and his family to show support and help fundraise to pay for medical bills.
His mother, Maureen Myers, said Jimmy’s friends are involved “120%” in every step.
“It’s beyond words. It’s incredible. They’re so incredibly gracious. Right away, they took care of everything for us,” Myers said. “I didn’t know what to do, where to turn, and I could have gone through it blind and alone without Jimmy’s dad and these guys would have made sure I made it.”
Jimmy’s father is Jason Myers.
His friends and teammates started the “Jimmy’s Fight” fundraiser right after the incident. Zoe Eakes, a Fenton student, started the gofundme called “Help for Jimmy Myers & family.” FHS senior Ava House organized a fundraiser at the Fenton farmers market during the Street Experience on July 1. Her mother, Carrie House, who owns Avenue 19 Boutique in Fenton, designed shirts for “Jimmy’s Fight.” They sold out of shirts and bracelets at the farmers market and had to order more. Shirts sell for $20.
Aside from playing in a fundraiser soccer game, some of the students offered to mow the Myers’ lawn and do other helpful activities. Jimmy has played soccer since he was 5. He played on the FHS team and for Nationals Genesee.
When the accident happened, Jimmy was walking on stairs in tight quarters with a friend arm-in-arm. They lost balance and fell back. He was able to turn his friend so she landed on him and wasn’t hurt, Myers said. His head hit a brick wall.
Myers said the day of the game on Thursday was a “really great” day for Jimmy.
After emergency surgery, he was in a coma for a while. When he came out of it, he had a setback last week and was motionless for a few days. He’s doing better now. He’s off the ventilator and has a feeding tube.
Myers said Jimmy can move his limbs and shoulders. Nurses bring out a whiteboard for him to write on so they can communicate. He and his mother have their own hand sign for “I love you” that he did for her Thursday.
On July 10, she posted in the Jimmy’s Fight Facebook page that he’s now off all medication and can communicate and move more.
“He’s doing really good,” she said. “He’s progressing.”
They don’t yet know the extent of the brain injury or what other neurological damage he could have. After he’s released from the hospital, he’ll go to an inpatient facility for rehab.
“The medical bills will continue until he’s playing soccer again but he’ll get there. He’ll get there,” Myers said. He had plans to attend Northwood University to play soccer in the fall.
Ava House said they have a group chat with approximately 30 people.
“He’s just been a really good friend to all of us, and when it happened we all came together and started planning out ideas on how to fundraise. It was pretty natural,” she said.
She described Jimmy as “very energetic.”
“He was always very upbeat. I’ve been friends with him for three years now and I’ve never seen him in a bad mood ever. He just always kept everyone happy, he’s always energetic, always up and dancing and making sure everyone’s involved. He was just a really good friend to us,” she said.
After seeing so many people getting involved in the fundraisers, House said , “It feels really good, I could cry,” which is a shared sentiment in their friend group.
FHS soccer coach Matt Sullivan, who organized the game on Thursday, said, “Jimmy’s family was blown away by the amazing turn out. It was so special to see members of the Lake Fenton and Linden soccer communities there to support us. It shows how much everyone loves Jimmy. This game is just one example of how everyone has come together to help him and his family.”