Posted: 1:16 am Thursday, August 21st, 2014

Cam Newton visits Georgia Tech QB recruit who’s recovering from brain injury 

By Michael Carvell

NFL quarterback Cam Newton went to a Charlotte hospital this week to visit a high school quarterback who is recovering from a serious head injury.

Jaylend Ratliffe, who is committed on a football scholarship to Georgia Tech, suffered a fractured skull in an ATV accident on July 30, shortly before the start of his senior season at Scotland High School.

After some scary moments, including brain surgery and a tracheotomy, Ratliffe’s health status has steadily improved over the last week. He’s still facing a long recovery but things have definitely turned in a positive direction.

On Tuesday, Ratliffe got a surprise visit from one of his favorite NFL players.

“Cam went up to see him in the hospital, and I thought that was awesome,” Scotland coach Richard Bailey told the AJC. “He brought some stuff from the Carolina Panthers, and they took some pictures together. Cam stayed for around an hour.

“Whomever made that happen, I’m happy because Cam Newton is one of his favorite players. Jaylend was pleased to see him. That was nice. It really seemed to bolster his spirits.”

Jaylend Ratliffe (Fayetteville Observer)

Jaylend Ratliffe (Fayetteville Observer)

What’s the latest with Jaylend’s health? He’s not getting out of the hospital anytime soon, but there’s a lot of other good news.

“He’s actually progressing pretty well,” Bailey said. “And he’s up walking and going through some rehab now. His cognitive skills are really good. He’s talking and stuff like that. All of that has been really positive.

“His left arm is starting to move now. They were able do some movements with his left arm, so that’s starting to come back. The biggest thing right now is that he’s still not able to swallow. Right now when he puts water in his mouth, it goes into his lungs. They are working on that, and it’s going to take some time. He’s still using a feeding tube, and obviously he has lost a lot of weight. He’s ready to drink a glass of water, I can tell you that.

“He’s ready to get out of the hospital, to be honest with you. But he is still a while away from that.”

The doctors haven’t given Ratliffe or his family any sort of timetable on his release because all brain injuries are different and they don’t have a standard healing time. His coach is hoping by the end of September, at the earliest.
Ratliffe still has to undergo brain surgery to put parts of removed skull back into place.

“Right now, he has to walk around the hospital with a helmet on,” Bailey said. “The doctors will put that bone back in, and it grows back together just like any other broken bone – and they say it actually grows back stronger than it was before.

“They will put it back in, and I don’t think he’ll go home until they do that … I really don’t know. But with these kind of things, one thing I do know is that doctors don’t throw out hypotheticals on release dates. They don’t want families too optimistic or too depressed because these things tend to progress at their own rate.”

Georgia Tech recently told Raliffe’s mother that they will honor his son’s scholarship offer, regardless if he’s ever able to play football again. Yellow Jackets assistant Bryan Cook has been in regular contact with the family.

“Georgia Tech is very supportive and I appreciate it because I know they’ve got a lot of things going on with preparing to play their first game,” Bailey said. “He’s a kid that’s not even on their team, but they’ve reached out to him and want to know what’s going on. They care. That means a lot to Jaylend and his family, along with me personally. We really appreciate that.”

What about Ratliffe’s football future? “He obviously thinks he’s going to play next week — or he wishes he was playing,” Bailey said.

“He definitely wants come back and play football. If it’s humanely possible, and the doctors allow it, I’m sure that he will. I just don’t know what is allowed, even years from now, when somebody suffers a traumatic brain injury like this.

“The doctors don’t want to tell him that he can’t play football again. I don’t even know if they know. Realistically, not many people are worried about that part of his life right now. They just want him to get out of the hospital and get on with his life.”

As a junior, Ratliffe led Scotland to an appearance in North Carolina’s state championship game. He was rated as a 3-star prospect and committed to Georgia Tech over North Carolina and N.C. State last March because of the opportunity to play quarterback in college.

  • Note: An account to help pay medical bills for Ratliffe and his family has been set up at State Employees Credit Union by Laurinburg Police and Scotland County Rescue Squad. The account is only accessible to Ratliffe’s mom, Sharon, and anyone can donate to the account through any SECU branch …Donald and Bobbie Lowe are selling “2 Strong” T-shirts in honor of Ratliffe. The shirts costs $20 and the family can be reached at 910-280-9927.

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– By Michael Carvell, AJC’s Recruiting Blog

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40 comments
dbbarefoot
dbbarefoot

Good to see Cam visiting  a great kid who had bad accident. Here's wishing Jaylend a speedy recovery.  And, most of all, here is to Georgia Tech for showing great class in honoring this young man's scholarship.  In today's world of "what can you do for me" mentality, it is wonderful to see a school be steadfast in the face of such a tragedy.  Thank you Georgia Tech for such compassion.  Your alumni can be proud to be a part of such a fine institution.  Best of luck to the your football team this season and the years to come as it competes in the ACC.

gtcaryd
gtcaryd

Home town kid acting like a home town kid.

HighTechJacket99
HighTechJacket99

Maybe Cam Newton has a lesson for us all on 2nd chances, redemption, opportunity, and doing something for another person who has no way of paying it back.

Get well soon, Jaylend.

Dewnsav
Dewnsav

Get well soon young man...puts life in perspective...go hard for that degree...nice gesture on Newton's part...Newton scares me when the Panther's play the Falcons...bet he scares the 'Coons too...go dogs

OGTripleOG
OGTripleOG

I love me some Cam Newton & Go Dawgs

Get well Jaylend

JustLurkin'
JustLurkin'

Hang tough, young Ratliffe.  Save for a few blithering idiots such as drydirtroad, there stands with you a world of supporters.  Hey, when natural enemies such as Jackets and Dawgs can wholeheartedly agree to take the same stance, you know that the support and prayers offered are solid, strong and genuine.


Best of luck to you.

JamesMoon
JamesMoon

Prayers from a Nole to this young man and his family. Good move by GT to allow him to keep his scholarship; it's the right thing to do. There are much more important things in life than college football and scholarship numbers. Tip of the hat to Cam as well. All of the media slamming of him a few years is beginning to look silly. This guy is doing things like this time and time again. We are too anxious to hate in this day and age.

Dawg-Gawn
Dawg-Gawn

No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it. ~ 1 Corinthians 10:13

“Champions aren't made in gyms. Champions are made from something they have deep inside them - a desire, a dream, a vision. They have to have the skill, and the will. But the will must be stronger than the skill.” – Muhammad Ali

Jaylend, God already knows that you have a fighters heart... now let your patience have it's perfect work...

"BELIEVE" in the G

Wrecker
Wrecker

I hope Jaylend is healing quickly and that his family is getting all the help they need.  No person likes to see a good young person like this in pain.  We will be happy to have Mr. Ratliffe as a member of the Tech family in whatever capacity.

juvenal
juvenal

In my, prayers, son-playing football again is not on the worry list....will still be given a chance do to the academics, wait & see......... 

MrSmiley
MrSmiley

I never have liked Cam and his "it's all about me" mentality, but this is definitely a step in the right direction.  Now if we can get that towel off his head when he's moping on the sideline, that'll be another step.

GTBob
GTBob

I've never been a big Cam Newton fan. I'm seeing him in a little better light now though. Really classy act by him and the Carolina organization.

JM64
JM64

Sounds like he is progressing well.  Still a long road to recovery.

GT has been very supportive and his parents have mentined it several times.

GMAB
GMAB

God bless you Jaylend. Glad that you are doing great. Keep your chin up.  " GO JACKETS "

AlternativeDawg
AlternativeDawg

Hate to say it but Cam is one of the good guys. He is finishing his degree in education in hopes of building schools for the underprivileged.

DawgNole
DawgNole

Gratifying to know he's making such steady progress, which was bolstered--no doubt--by Newton's visit. Tip o' the cap to Cam for taking the time to do something so meaningful for one of his fans.

Ersatz
Ersatz

Too bad Cam didn't visit Ole Tech as a freshman QB.

gtcaryd
gtcaryd

Good job Cam, Get well soon Jaylen and get to the Flats. But most importantly Get Well.

Buzz-Off
Buzz-Off

Really a sad story, but Cam brightened it up a little. I hope Jaylend has a speedy recovery.

59bulldawg
59bulldawg

Classy move by Cam! I hope this young man gets well soon. But whether he ever plays football again or not it's good to know he'll still be able to get a top quality education. Classy move also by GT and Coach Paul Johnson.

BobLeeSwagger
BobLeeSwagger

Nice of Cam to do that. I hope the young man will be able to attend Tech at some point in the future to get a degree.

SupersizeThatOrder-mutt
SupersizeThatOrder-mutt

@Dawg-Gawn 

My favorite verse from Scripture.  I also like substituting the word "situation," or "crisis," or other similar words for "temptation."  That makes the verse even more meaningful and encouraging.

You may be a Dawg, but you aren't all bad.  LOL

neutralobserver
neutralobserver

@MrSmiley Mrsmiley..it's time for you to do a little research on Cam and this time, pay attention. There have been a half dozen visits to hospitals or needy kids by Cam..off the top of your pointy head, can you think of anyone else who has done anything comparable? Outstanding guy in every way..busy getting his degree in the off season without fanfare. Apparently, your team (whatever that might be) got taken apart by either Auburn or the Panthers and you're letting a football loss or two ruin what low self esteem you might have had. I'm hoping things get better for you in the future

CarterCollins
CarterCollins

@MrSmiley "Its all about me" has always been a myth and an unfair character assessment.  He has never been accused by a teammate of having that type of attitude.

JonCampbell
JonCampbell

@MrSmiley He has never had that attitude in the NFL. He has the towel on all the time, good or bad. There was another guy who did the same that played basketball for the Bulls back in the day, I forgot his name...Jordan or something like that. Quit buying into the ESPN hype hate machine.

JustLurkin'
JustLurkin'

@drydirtroad What an apropos screen name you've chosen for yourself, for surely your heart is filled with only dry dirt and for a brain you've got nothing but a twisted road that leads to nowhere.  That being said, I apologize for all the hard-working, serviceable dry dirt roads of the world that provide worthwhile surfaces for transportation.  I meant no offense. 

Bulldawg95
Bulldawg95

@drydirtroad - As a Dawg fan I said it before and I'll say it again - WELL DONE TECH FOR DOING THE RIGHT THING.


The fact you can't say as much is pathetic.  

MrSmiley
MrSmiley

@drydirtroad Much more important things than winning and losing.  The karma train is bound to run you over and over again for posting that.

GTBob
GTBob

@drydirtroad I didn't think you could post anything worse than your racist comments about GT's quarterbacks, but you managed to pull it off.

SupersizeThatOrder-mutt
SupersizeThatOrder-mutt

@drydirtroad 

You are without a doubt the most pathetic fool I have ever seen make posts on these blogs.  It's a good thing you never had a kid who was faced with the uncertain future that Jaylend faces, because you would probably have tried to have him euthanized.  And where the hell in the article does it say that Jaylend is in a vegetative state?   You need to get down on your knees and ask forgiveness for such crass, uncaring statements about another individual.  Even the Georgia fans who post on the Tech blogs have shown more class than you.

gtcaryd
gtcaryd

@drydirtroad You live alone don't you, and if not, Bless their hearts. So he is a vegetable now? If you are connected to Tech, then you need to be surgically removed.

stgp
stgp

@BobLeeSwagger Unfortunately the odds are he won't. Just as many of our military have survived bomb blasts that would have killed previously, our medical ability to save a life in these instances is improved, but sadly curing the long term effects of brain injury eludes us. 


This forum is probably not the place( or maybe it is) for the discussion of the death and disability machines that are ATVs, and why supposedly civilized humans let their children on them....

Dawg-Gawn
Dawg-Gawn

@SupersizeThatOrder-mutt

Thanks Supersize for the kind words... I do have several friends some have played GT football... but Christ is 1st above all... 

"BELIEVE" in the G

PaulinNH
PaulinNH

@juvenal 

Depends whose book you are talking about.  He's quoted the Koran