He entered the world about three months early, and Christion Abercrombie proved right away he was a fighter. For five weeks, the tiny boy was on a ventilator, his mother said Wednesday.
Now a 20-year-old college football player, Abercrombie is once again fighting for his life. The Tennessee State linebacker, an Atlanta native and Westlake High School graduate, was critically injured during Saturday’s game against Vanderbilt.
“Christion is fighting, so therefore as a family we are fighting,” Staci Abercrombie said of her son.
The family spoke Wednesday afternoon from Vanderbilt University Medical Center, where Christion was rushed Saturday. He underwent emergency surgery for what a doctor said Wednesday was a rare neurological injury.
Christion has shown some movement, particularly when his family plays gospel music for him. But his progress can’t be rushed, and his parents know they must be patient.
Citing his privacy, no specifics have been released on Christion’s diagnosis. But his mother said she and other family members attended the game and never saw her son get injured.
“We never miss a game,” Staci Abercrombie said. “We barely missed a practice in high school.”
She watched Saturday as her son, whose nickname is “AB,” prayed in the end zone before the game, then bobbed his head to the stadium music. Before the game was finished, Abercrombie and her husband, Derrick, were being waved down to the field, where doctors were already at her son’s side.
“We didn’t see anything. We knew nothing,” Staci Abercrombie said. “There was nothing that shook us in that game.”
The medical team wasted no time getting her son to the Vanderbilt hospital, about a two-minute ride from the field. Once at the hospital, Christion underwent surgery. Since then, he has remained in critical condition.
His parents, who have remained at the hospital since Saturday, have been constantly surrounded by teammates, friends and coaches. And even more people, strangers from around the country, have offered words of support.
It is that support from others, plus the family’s faith, that is sustaining them through their son’s recovery. Christion’s injury was an accident, and it won’t weaken the family’s hope, Staci Abercrombie said.
“We’re not blaming,” she said. “We’re blessed.”
A prayer vigil is planned for Monday at 7:30 p.m. at the Westlake High football stadium.