Teen recovering from car crash wakes from coma

Published 3:00 am Tuesday, February 21, 2017

A two-vehicle collision in Troy last month left 16-year-old Denver Buck in a coma. Three weeks later, Buck has woken up and started physical therapy.

Buck and a friend were turning south onto U.S. Highway 231 from Trojan Way on Saturday, January 21 when they were struck by a truck traveling northbound, sending both vehicles into the median.

Buck’s passenger and the other driver had minor injuries, but Buck was airlifted to Baptist South in Montgomery in critical condition.

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Exactly three weeks later on Saturday, February 11 Denver woke up and began responding, Orlando said, and tracking people in the room with his eyes.

“Around 11 (a.m.) or so, he started moving his head to one side or the other looking at people on either side of his bed as they spoke,” Orlando said. “When he looked back at me, I asked if he could see me. To our sheer joy, he raised his thumb.

“I next asked him if he knew who I was– thumb up! I lost it at this point…I just couldn’t thank God enough for His blessings and allowing us to know that Denver could see us and knew who we were.”

Orlando said Denver even seemed to begin processing the passage of time, making a “perplexed look” when he overheard his sister was 9 years old: his sister was still 8 when the accident occurred.

“He turned his head and fixed his eyes on me while I explained that her birthday had been just a few days earlier,” Orlando said. “Again, he got a perplexed look: that look when you can tell someone is thinking about something.

“I told him it was February 11 – again, a look of processing. I told him he had been in the hospital for three weeks because he had been in a severe accident on January 21. He just continued to look, processing. I wished I knew what he was thinking.”

Denver was transported to Children’s Hospital in Birmingham the next morning to begin rehab.

“The therapy he is getting is great. We have seen improvements every day, praise God,” Orlando said. “Right now, his physical and occupational therapists are working on basic things: trying to sit up in bed from laying down and sitting up on the bed side or in a chair. They are also working with him on grasping things and letting them go, as well as controlled leg movements like kicking a ball.”

Denver has also become able to respond with both a “thumb up” and a “thumb down.”

Orlando said Denver still has a long way to go, but the family is grateful for how far he’s come.

Orlando said the family is also grateful for the many prayers of support of people and churches, some that don’t even know the family. He asks that the community continue to pray for Denver’s recovery.