Matthew Sanchez had rarely seen his father cry. But when Rudjard Hayes looked at the X-rays of his son's spine after a high school football accident, he held his wife close and broke down, not knowing that his son could see him.
Hayes was used to watching Sanchez get knocked to the ground during games and then get back up, but that game in 2004 was different: After getting knocked down, Sanchez, then 15, could not move.
"I knew it was serious, but it didn't really sink in until I saw the X-rays for myself," said Hayes, who lived with his family in Sharpsburg, Georgia, at the time.
Sanchez's C5 vertebra (in his neck) was fractured.
"I knew the chances of him recovering were basically zero. But I hoped and prayed 24-7," Hayes said. "We are a very faith-based family and believe that you trust the people that are there for you, and things are going to be OK. God will see you through it." Read full article »