WINTER GARDEN, Fla. - Students at Foundation Academy in Winter Garden have coined the term #BaileyStrong, after one of their own football players, Bailey Trinder, was left paralyzed when he crashed his truck after football practice earlier this month.
According to the Florida Highway Patrol crash report, the 17-year-old lineman lost control of his 2006 Chevrolet Colorado as he was on his way to a Groveland home from football practice.
The report said Trinder for some reason lost control, overcorrected and then flipped two times, ejecting Trinder from the vehicle.
His best friend since preschool and football teammate Henry Austad teared up as he recalled that night.
"My mom called me and said that he had gotten in a bad car accident and that they didn't know what happened," Austad said. "They told me to come as fast as I could."
Trinder was airlifted to Orlando Regional Medical Center, where he has been since the Sept. 7 crash. That night, Austad -- along with up to 50 other students, parents and family -- packed the emergency room.
Foundation Academy President Dave Buckles was also there.
"We took over the emergency room at ORMC," Buckles said. "That was overwhelming for the family because when they came out to see us, they broke down in tears when they saw the support."
That same night, Buckles got grief counselors and pastors from nearby churches lined up ready for students at school the next day.
"It was a scary time because as an administration, we are looking at there is possibility we are going to lose one of our students," Buckles said.
However, after the crucial 48 hours, Buckles said, things started to look up.
The Foundation Academy posted updates daily for students and family on behalf of the Trinder family.
"Monday Bailey update: He had physical therapy this morning on upper extremities. He is sitting up in chair. Thanks for your prayers! The fervent prayers of the righteous avails much," the latest update on the Foundation Academy Athletics Facebook page read.
Austad visited him Sunday.
"I went to him yesterday and I just think he seemed really happy to see me, he seemed in a good mood, happy, talking, smiling," Austad said with a smile on his face.
In fact, Friday night, just before the football game, the team got a video sent from Trinder in his hospital bed, though grimacing in pain, Trinder still pumped up his team for a win.
"Hey boys, y'all know I miss you so I want to thank you for your support this week. So I'm right here giving it right back to y'all. Show up with a win tonight boys, go play hard," Trinder said in the video.
As his best friend, Austad believes it's the support that Trinder has received from across the state that is fueling his recovery.
The next day after the crash, the Foundation Academy football team was ready to take on Bradenton Christian School. Before the game started, their opponents showed up with #68 decals to put on their helmets. #68 was Trinder's number.
"It was emotional," Austad said. "It was really weird but it was cool to know that somebody was there for us outside of football and to know that it was bigger than football for them."
It's also bigger than just high school football.
Foundation Academy alumnus and now safety at Southeastern University, Cory Rahman, sent a video to encourage Trinder.
"I heard what happened and I wanted to let you know as a team we are praying for you to make a speedy recovery," Rahman can be heard saying before the team chanted "Bailey Strong" three times.
We are so thankful for all those who are praying for our Bailey. ThNk you @TimTebow for making a difference! #baileystrong pic.twitter.com/Z4rKyOs2U2 — Lisa Eaves, A.D. (@faathletic) September 13, 2018
Gator Great Tim Tebow also sent a video.
"What's up Bailey? This is Tim Tebow. I just wanted to make this video to encourage you to let you know your story has touched so many people including myself and I want you to know that I'm praying for you and God loves you so much, man, and we got your back and if there is anything we can do, we support you. God bless you buddy," Tebow said.
Austad said Bailey has to tell everyone about it.
"I know Bailey enjoyed it a lot. Every time somebody new comes up to him, he tells him about it, he loves it," Austad said.
He believes it's that support that is hopefully going to get his best friend to walk again soon.
"I have definitely been inspired by him," he said. "It's tough but I know that he is going to try to walk and do everything he can to walk again."
Late Tuesday afternoon, News 6 got in contact with Brian Trinder, Bailey's father, who said he wanted to make sure the community knows how grateful the family is.
"Please just make sure in the story that the community knows how much our family appreciates the prayers and support they have shown; it has truly helped our family through all of this," Brian Trinder wrote in a text message.
The nonprofit organization Aaron Foundation has started a fundraiser for Bailey Trinder. If you'd like to donate, click here.
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