Chelsea student preparing to go home following traumatic brain injury

Local News

CHELSEA, Ala (WIAT) — A 14-year-old Chelsea middle school student is getting ready to go home after spending almost three months at Children’s of Alabama.

Back in November, Eli Hairston suffered a traumatic brain injury in November after falling off a golf cart.

Jay Hairston, Eli’s dad, said his son has taken advantage of every single day.

“We learned a lot about his spirit. I thought I knew him pretty well beforehand but he gives me new things about him everyday, new surprises about him everyday,” Hairston said.

Eli has had to re-learn how to walk and talk again. Jay said he has to remind himself that TBI’s are unpredictable.

“There’s a tremendous amount of unknown from day-to-day and sometimes you can get caught in sadness in the unknown and get caught in a funk in the unknown, so you have to lean on your faith and just sort of watch your kid fight and get your encouragement from every little victory that you can see,” he said.

Hairston said Eli is making great strides. He can now walk with just the help of one person. At the beginning of his injury, four people needed to help him.

Jay said Eli’s attitude has continued to be positive.

“He uses the word ‘yet’ a lot. We talk to him about his left arm or left leg, he’ll say it’s not working yet, and then he’ll remind them the keyword is yet,” he said.

The world is following too on the “Praying for Eli” Facebook group, which has over 14,000 members. His mother continues to send updates on Eli’s condition and their prayer requests.

Just recently, Eli sent his own message saying he was thankful for the prayers and that he is getting stronger and better every single day.

Jay said the prayers are uplifting them and reminding them how truly blessed Eli is.

“I’ve always been proud of him but he is such a fighter. It’s really been rough to watch sometimes but he’s such a fighter, such a fighter. He has this never quit, never give up spirit. He just works really hard everyday and I’m really proud of him,” he said.

Eli is set to leave the hospital on Thursday. He will have to undergo a lot of outpatient therapy, but his homecoming is a big moment for the family who haven’t been all under the same roof since November.


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