Bailey’s Back! Fortuna Football Player Badly Injured Last Fall Attended School This Week

Bailey Foley before

Bailey Foley in August of 2017.

This week, Bailey Foley attended his first class at Fortuna High School since he received a traumatic brain injury playing football. For eight months Bailey has been fighting to regain his life.

Last August, Bailey, who is in his senior year, headed off to an away game in Santa Rosa. Towards the end of the hard-fought contest, he came off the field and began having seizures. He was rushed to the hospital where doctors put him in a medically induced coma. Eventually, he had to be moved to UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital in Oakland.

He had pneumonia and infections. Even after he came out of the coma, he couldn’t remember how to speak. “He started talking again in October,” explained his mother, Tara Johnson.

Bailey Foley

Bailey in the hospital.

Then he had to relearn the names of simple objects. He had to learn how to walk again. “He came home right after Christmas,” Johnson said. His parents spent nearly the entire time with him as he fought his way back. “It was crazy living in the hospital room with Bailey and in the Family House,” she said ruefully.

Once he got home, he began an intensive regime to continue his fight back to health.Bailey Foley “He got set up with physical therapy, speech, and occupational therapy two days per week,” his mom explained. “He did pretty good. He isn’t a complainer.”

Since then, Bailey has slowly been regaining his former self. “He is getting a lot better. His short-term memory is starting to come back,” Johnson told us. “Coach [Mike] Benbow had been coming over and doing schoolwork with him.”

Bailey has slowly been adding in activities, his mom said. “His cousin took him to the gym and played basketball last month and he went fishing.”

Bailey Foley

Bailey’s senior picture.

Wednesday was his first day back at school. “He did four periods,” she said proudly. “He loved it! He loved seeing his friends…He has a really close friend that he has in all his classes. Coach Benbow teaches his history class and his physical conditioning class first period.”

Next week he is going to try to go to school three days, his mom said. When he is ready, he will attend full-time.

Johnson wanted to thank everyone who has helped. “His GoFundMe page raised a lot of money,” she said. “The football team raised a bunch of money for him.”

Bailey Foley

Bailey with Dr. Gary LeKander who was with him when he was injured. The doctor had Bailey’s family stay in his guest house while Bailey was in a Santa Rosa hospital.

Bailey’s parents are holding some of that in reserve in case of future medical expenses. “We have some saved up because we don’t know what he is going to need,” Johnson explained. He isn’t completely recovered. “He has a little stiffness on his right side,” she explained.

Johnson said Bailey “could still have some issues because of the stroke he had. It is causing some vision issues.” However, she said, “He is going to start vision therapy soon.”

Knowing how far Bailey has come from the boy in the coma, Johnson has confidence in him. As she said, he does the needed work and “he isn’t a complainer.”

Earlier Chapter: Fortuna Football Player Hospitalized With Apparent Brain Injury During Friday’s Game



  • Thank God! You Go Bailey!

    • Such good news, may God’s Blessings, love and healing be with him.

      God be with his family, also with Dr’s and the progress to come.

      We know what your family has been through and we 🙏 (pray) for a complete recovery!

  • Awesome story!

  • In before someone attacks the sport of football. Glad to see this lad back on his feet after this ordeal.

  • Pinch of Salt River

    You’re a true inspiration, Bailey. Wish you all the best as you continue with recovery. Be well!

  • unbridled philistine

    Im so glad this young man is getting better! All of Fortuna has been worried sick! So happy to hear this.

  • The T-shirt says it all…

  • Kathleen McWhorter

    Wonderful news! Great job Bailey and job well Done parents for being there. I experienced a traumatic injury with my Son several years back and it takes allot of strength and faith.
    I am a massage therapist. If Bailey could benefit from massage I would be happy to help free of charge. 599-2812.
    Take good care and God Bless you all

  • Pretty disgusting for this website to exploit this boy for money.

    • Dang, I thought I was celebrating his recovery, persistence, and damn hard work. His mother didn’t seem to think I was doing anything awful…

      • Dont let the trolls get to you Ms. Kemp you provide and invaluable service for this area, some people just look for reasons to be upset. Keep on keeping on

      • Great story Kim! Some of us in Humboldt County often wonder about the outcome of some of the things that you report on and it is nice to see a follow-up, especially on this one. I don’t know Bailey or his family but to see someone his age fighting as hard as he has is fantistic.

    • If a person earns a living providing information I want to hear, especially if I can’t get it otherwise, more power to them. Heaven knows, there are way too many people confusing their own dour opinions with news already. I want to hear some positive things too.

    • Whoa, Parent, you’re quite a gem. So a kid and his fam go through a life changing injury and everything that goes along with it including a mountain of med bills and costs and you’re put off and disgusted that they’re telling his story? Go find something else to do.

      • A life changing injury this child’s parent consented to. What gets me is how we know what traumatic brain injury does to a kid yet parents are willing to risk it just so the kid can play football. They are living out what was a preventable injury.

  • How kind of the Dr. that let the family stay in his guest house. Everyone working together for the benefit of a wonderful young man. What courage he has shown. Praying for many more miracles and happy days ahead.

  • Yay! Bailey you are incredible. I am so proud of you for all your hard work. Keep it up. 👌🏻👏🏻

  • Very strong young man keep you head up God is looking after you

  • Very strong young man God is looking after you good job young man

  • As someone who only knows Bailey after, although my friends son also played football, what a badass you are. YOU were the one doing the hard work, yet Your Team, parents and the community seemed by your side continually! Great work Bailey…Fortuna and all who helped, YOU ROCK! Don’t always get this good of ending, my cousins son went thru somewhat the same football injury, and he is wonderful and now in his 30’s. Keep up the hard work!

  • That is AWESOME!

  • Prayer is powerful, so is all your hard work, Bailey. Keep it up, I have offered to help anyway I can with exercise and rehab, free of course. Ask your bestie,Ethan, he’ll give you my number.
    God is good, power on!!!

  • Great job Bailey!!

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