By Joao Vitor Bonanoni/ Staff Writer
Students, Coaches, and Faculty gathered to send prayers and show support for TJ Bright, a Sophomore football player who suffered a heart attack on October 18.
At 7:30 a.m. that day, the student-athlete was found unresponsive by his roommates and was rushed to Fitzgibbon Hospital in Marshall. After being stabilized, Bright was airlifted to Boone Hospital in Columbia, where he was induced into a coma until Oct. 20.
Heath Morgan, Vice President of Student Affairs, invited the MVC Community to pray for TJ and his family last Wednesday. At 7 p.m., a large group of people was united to send positive thoughts and pray for the Bright family.
“It was amazing. It made me emotional just seeing the amount of support,” said Vanessa Cardenas, who is a close friend of TJ. “This community does have your back if anything happens to you.”
Morgan got emotional when talking about the situation and expressed his appreciation for the support that the MVC community is providing to TJ and his family.
“I believe in the power of prayer,” Morgan said. “I believe that our prayer will have a positive impact.”
Nick Petrov, the campus Chaplain, was present to deliver a prayer. Petrov thanked everyone for attending, and he directed his prayer to TJ and his family.
“We ask you, Father, bless every one of us, but most of all bless TJ to restore his health, give him strength, bring him back, in the classroom, with his teammates, in the field,” Petrov said.
“Everybody is thinking and praying for him,” said Paul Troth, Head Football Coach. “We just want to see him get well and get back to normal.”
Cardenas expressed that this unexpected situation was terrifying for her and all of his friends.
“Initially, it was very scary, but I think now that I know he is improving, that his showing signs of improvement, I feel better about it and not so worried.”
Cardenas said that TJ is usually the one that makes everyone smile when they hang out and also expressed her love and support to her friend.
“TJ, we love you. We know that you are strong, and you will make it through this,” Cardenas said. “We always get your back and we need you to get back to us so we can keep making crazy memories together.”
Ted Bright, TJ’s father, has been sharing daily updates about TJ’s condition on his social media pages. In his last posts, TJ is progressively showing improvements and is already walking and breathing without the assistance of equipment.
Monday, TJ received a visit from the medical crew that first responded to the call and also the nurse who admitted him at Boone Hospital in Columbia.
“It was such a neat experience to see them and hear their side of the story,” said Ted Bright on his social media.
Tuesday, based on the information shared by Ted Bright, TJ is getting surgery to implant an Implantable Cardioverter-Defibrillator (ICD), which will monitor his heart and control the heart rhythm in case of any future accident.
“Please keep TJ in your thoughts and prayers with as much positive energy as possible,” said Ted Bright on his social media days after the incident. “We know that he’s going to pull through this curious event and be stronger for it because that’s just what he does.”