Van Alstyne Residents Turn Out To Help Injured Sledder - - No One Gets You Closer

Van Alstyne Residents Turn Out To Help Injured Sledder


VAN ALSTYNE, TX -- A fundraiser was held today for a Grayson County teen who was injured while playing outside following the ice storm.

The Van Alstyne High School junior was outside his home late at night with friends, when a freak accident broke his spine below the neck, and on Saturday hundreds turned out to a fundraiser at the First Baptist Church's Family Life Center to try to help the family.

It was early in the morning on Dec. 11 when the teen's sister got the alarming news. "I was asleep in my bed and got a phone call from my mom and Riley'd got in an accident and I was there in two hours at the hospital," says Sydney Sprowl. "He was in a neck brace and he had the breathing tube in and it was very sad to see, but I was very thankful that he was alive."

Sydney Sprowl soon learned her 16-year-old brother Riley had been sledding with friends in their backyard near Van Alstyne. "He was on the back of a cooler lid and that's what he was sledding on and tied to the four-wheeler," says Sydney Sprowl. "We think he hit a the fence post that our next door neighbor has, the pipe fence post, but I mean he was flown off and he could have hit a rock or just hit the ice."

"He fractured his C4 and C5 vertebrae and sustained a spinal injury," says family friend Jeff Birge. "It's a serious injury, there's no doubt about that, and Riley understands that his injury is serious, but I would never put limits on what Riley Joe can overcome."

People made signs in support of Riley and organizers say all 400 T-shirts sold out in about 15 minutes. A couple days after the accident, a Facebook page was also set up.

"There's been a lot of people outside Van Alstyne and outside of Texas even who have had family members with the same kind of accident reach out to Riley and his family," says church youth pastor Griff Servati.

Friends say Riley Sprowl is paralyzed from the shoulders down, but he can speak to them in a whisper. "When it first came out about the accident that morning, everybody just, our hearts were broken, our hearts were wanting to respond," says Servati.

"For something like this to happen is sad and it's heartbreaking but my brother is very strong," says Sydney Sprowl.

Riley Sprowl remains in the ICU at Parkland Hospital in Dallas and his mom has been posting updates online. Organizers say the event raised $18,000 and they have orders for 150 more shirts.