Brunswick rallies around teen who suffered traumatic brain injury

BRUNSWICK, OH (WOIO) - The Brunswick High School gym erupted in cheers Tuesday evening, as Kelly Ventura broke through the banner before the basketball game.

The Medina County eighth grader walked arm-in-arm with his mother and grandpa, as he took his first steps outside the hospital.

"I'm overwhelmed he's still on earth," Kelly's mother Sabrina Ventura said.

It's been a scary two months for Kelly and his family.

On Nov. 24 the 13-year-old tripped over a bench and hit his head on the driveway as he tried setting up his basketball hoop.

The fall fractured his skull, broke bones in his jaw and tore his carotid arteries. He had brain bleeds and swelling and suffered sixth nerve palsy, which left him cross eyed. Despite it all, Kelly continues to fight.

"A lot of times, I didn't tell Kelly this, but I couldn't see the light at the end of the tunnel and I would just look at him and I'd say, 'Do you see the light, babe? And he'd say, 'Yeah, I got this, it's all good.' So, I'm supposed to be the one keeping him afloat. He kept me afloat," Sabrina said.

What keeps Kelly going is knowing he'll be back out on the basketball court one day. Brunswick basketball head coach Joe Mackey even made the middle school student a special promise Tuesday, by announcing Kelly will one day play for him on the varsity basketball team.

"You judge people by how they handle diversity. I can't imagine what the family is going through what Kelly is going through," Mackey said.

On top of Tuesday's rally, the school also sold 50/50 raffle tickets and #KellyStrong bracelets. All the money from goes to Kelly and his family to help with all their medical expenses.

It's been a long, bumpy road, and there's still hurdles Kelly must cross, but his mother said she's confident her son will conquer any obstacle along the way.

"Because he's done what he's done so far, I'm not worried about it. This kid is badass strong I call it," said Sabrina.

After the rally, Kelly had to go straight back to the hospital, where he's been every day and night for two months. The good news is, he's supposed to be discharged Jan. 31.

Kelly still has a long road ahead of him, but doctors believe he'll fully recover. His mother said he still has his sets sight on making it to the NBA.

There is GoFundMe account set up to help Kelly. The goal is to raise $15,000.

The school is also working on getting more #KellyStrong shirts and bracelets made.

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