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