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Parents of Semi-Comatose Prep Player Overwhelmed by Kindness

December 20, 1995

OXNARD, Calif. (AP) _ Overwhelmed by kindness in the wake of a car accident that left their son in a coma, Mary and Mike Theurer put a special message on their answering machine.

``If you’re calling concerning Brant, Brant continues to be in a semi-comatose state,″ the message tells callers. ``His health is very stable. There is some limited response to some of the things that we ask him to do. We are still very encouraged for his full and complete recovery.

``We thank you for your faith and prayer and concern on his behalf and on the behalf of his family.″

Brant Theurer, a 17-year-old fullback, was returning with three Paraclete High teammates from a football camp last July when the driver fell asleep. The other three had only minor injuries, but Brant was thrown from the vehicle and had the base of his brain damaged.

``They found him heaped in a ball,″ Paraclete coach Steve Hagerty said. ``He wasn’t expected to make it through the night.″

Paraclete is in Quartz Hill, about 70 miles from Los Angeles and about 100 miles from Oxnard, where Brant is being treated at Meridian Neuro Care Hospital. Many of his teammates regularly make the long trek to visit him.

During the season, Hagerty wore a tape recorder at games and practices, capturing the familiar sounds of football to be played back for Brant. He seemed to grow more animated, tensing up and moving his head when the tapes were played.

Sometimes Brant is completely unresponsive, although his mother said he at times reacts to a command, such as turning his head. Doctors can’t say when, or if, Brant will recover.

``His teammates, his coach, the school, the community, everybody has been so wonderful,″ Mrs. Theurer said. ``And we’ve heard from people all over the country who have read about Brant. You realize there are so many thoughtful, caring people in the world.

``We had one call from a man in Texas whose daughter had a similar injury. Another man called from New Jersey, said he had gone through the same thing with his daughter. He said he was sending a check to the fund for Brant.

``In this day and time, when you hear about so many bad things, we have been pretty much overwhelmed with people’s kindness. There’s more good that’s come from this than you can imagine.″

``We have been in awe of the response,″ Brant’s father said.

Mrs. Theurer related many instances of the way others have shown their concern: the opposing players in Paraclete’s first game after the accident ``dug down in their pockets and came up with more than $170 for the fund and game officials donated all their money from the game. Almost all the schools in the (Antelope) Valley have held fund-raisers.″

``It’s so kind. It all takes time and effort and, `Wow,‴ she said.

Their son obviously is very well-liked and respected.

``He has a 3.9 grade-point average, is a real leader,″ Hagerty said. ``He’s visited BYU, intended to go there. He was really looking forward to this season, since he was moving from center to fullback.″

Paraclete made it as far as the semifinals in its division for the first time.

Lance Austin, the driver of the car involved in the crash, said, ``It was like he was always on the field with us. Even though he wasn’t there, he provided a lot of leadership. We wanted to go to the finals and win for him.″

Ryan Johnson, whom Brant convinced to play football, is confident his friend will improve, saying, ``I feel like he’s going to come out of it. He seemed better the last few times I visited him.″

Said teammate Vinny Pagan: ``I could sense Brant’s presence when we were playing and we were in a tough jam and needed a stop or something. I’ve matured so much because of this. Every night, I pray for him. He’s a big part of my life.

``I wish he were here with us for Christmas. All the material things are good to have, but it’s not the same.″

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