Community rallies around paralyzed high school football player

Posted at 8:35 PM, Oct 16, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-17 13:00:51-04

A Middle Tennessee high school football player’s life changed forever after he was injured during a game two months ago, but his family and friends continue to rally around him.

Jefferey Cox is paralyzed from the neck down and requires a ventilator to breathe.  He is currently undergoing treatment at the Shepherd Center in Atlanta, a facility that specializes in spinal cord and brain injury rehabilitation.

Family friends say Cox remains positive, and relies on his strong faith to help him through his treatment.  He continues to defy the odds.

“He’s doing great and his spirits are high,” said Racheal Stavely, a close friend of the Cox family.  “He’s just getting better every day.”

Cox, 17, was injured on Aug. 3 during a scrimmage against Joe Byrns High School.   The Houston County senior made a routine tackle during the game, and then didn’t get up.

“I hit the ground and I remember coach saying something about my helmet, and then everything went black,” recalled Cox.

“We knew it was bad,” said Stavely.  “We weren’t sure he was alive.”

Cox was taken to NorthCrest Medical Center in Springfield. Shortly after arriving, he was life-flighted to Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

Friends have visited Cox at both hospitals, and continue to make routine trips to Atlanta.  Ever since his injury, people across Houston County have responded by buying T-shirts, organizing fundraisers, and donating money to help with Cox’s medical expenses.

“Almost every game Houston County has played, there have been benefits going on and collections taken up,” said Stavely.

Stavely said Cox hopes to be released from the Shepherd Center in Atlanta on Nov. 15.  However, when he returns home he will face additional challenges.  He will need a handicap accessible van so he can get around.  The Cox family will also need a home that is wheelchair accessible. Friends have donated an empty lot where a new home can be built, but it will be an expensive project.

Donations can be made through a Go Fund Me account set up to help the Cox family:

Donations can also be made at the Traditions First Bank located at 5745 E. Main St. in Erin.

A Facebook page has also been set up with updates on Cox’s progress: