BOISE -- Three days after Kuna High School football player Boone Bartlome broke his neck during a game against Bishop Kelly, his family spoke with KTVB about his current condition, saying it will be weeks before the true extent of his injuries is known.
Boone's sister Bailey says her brother's personality is very much the same as always: optimistic and a bit silly, but she says it will be weeks yet until we know the extent of his injury is and what recovery may look like.
On Friday night, Bailey was able to get off work early and drive from Twin Falls to see her younger brother's game against her alma mater's rivalry.
I got there right before it started and sat down and away we went, Bailey said.
AMOMENT THATCAPTURED THECOMMUNITY
During the game, Boone went down while trying to make a block and was seriously injured. While trying to make a play, she says he tripped and went into another player, breaking his neck. It took her several minutes to realize the player injured on the field was her brother.
I found out when my mom was walking back toward me and her hands were just covering her face. When she could finally spit out the words, 'They don't know what's wrong with him, he's not moving.' I didn't say anything. I didn't cry. Nothing. I just gave my mom a hug and stared at my brother. I didn't know what to do, Bailey said.
In a moment that has captured the community, both teams, though big rivals in high school football, came together on the field and dropped down to pray as Boone went to the hospital.
Boone had surgery early Saturday morning, just hours after the injury. The surgery was considered successful, but Boone's coach has talked with doctors and family and says they won't really know what the future holds for two to three weeks. Boone is talking and visiting with his friends.
Until that swelling goes down, there won't be movement or anything. The body's just hibernating and healing. So as soon as that swelling goes down, there will be opportunity to see where he's at and just how long this is going to be for us, Coach Lee Leslie said.
On Monday afternoon, Boone's sister joined many of his friends, classmates and teammates at the school to talk about Boone and what they're going to do next, including delivering meals, writing well wishes and raising money to paint Boone's truck to help motivate the recovery he's fighting for now.
I guarantee he's stronger than any of us. He hasn't said anything hardly negative at all. He's just like what's next? What do we do? Bailey said.
Bailey says on Sunday night Boone watched part of a video from the game, and he remembers the accident. He was even able to talk about the play when Coach Leslie drew the X's and O's on a board.
Boone has seen a number of his friends at the hospital, and Bailey showed him the Facebook support he's been getting online. She says he's been very appreciative and wants the community to keep thinking of him.
Keep up, I guess, all the support for Boone. Because that's what he needs, and he loves it. So thank you, Bailey said.
If you'd like to donate money or send a card to Boone, you can send mail to P.O. Box 191132 Boise, ID 83719. A bank account will be set up on Tuesday for Boone's family, and information will be posted on Kuna's football website.