'A shining light': Kuna student inspires classmates

12-year-old Trevor Vachter suffered a traumatic brain injury seven years ago, but it hasn't kept him from becoming a valued member of Kuna Middle School's football team.

KUNA - It's Trevor Vachter's first year at Kuna Middle School, but he's already one of the most loved kids on campus. He's just one of those people who makes you smile.

The 12-year-old suffered a severe traumatic brain injury in a car accident when he was just five years old.

It was a day his mom will never forget.

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"A lady ran a stop sign," Michelle Baker explained. "We were told the first night that he was probably not going to survive the night."

But Trevor is a fighter, and he did survive.

"When he first started waking up, the first thing he did was smile," Michelle said.

Trevor spent four months in the hospital, healing, and adjusting to his new normal - a brain injury, and life in a wheelchair.

"He loved all sports, basketball, baseball, he was always running. Just go, go, go," Michelle said. "He didn't lose any memory so he knows he used to run and walk."

When he came home to Kuna, he went to every one of his brother's football games at Kuna Middle School.

"He used to go watch his brother, and said he wanted to be his brother's coach," Michelle said. "Because he knew he couldn't play."

This year, Trevor is now at Kuna Middle School. He still goes to every football game. At the beginning of the school year, the new principal spotted him.

"I noticed Trevor and Michelle at the game and she said he comes to all the games," Principal Paul Souza said. "And I said ok, we have to figure something out.

"I emailed Coach Palmer before I left the parking lot, and said do you know Trevor? And his response was 'that's my boy... I'd love to have him on the team,'" Souza added.

Coach Palmer gave Trevor a uniform and welcomed him onto the team.

"He was way excited, super excited," Michelle said.

The kids on the team welcomed Trevor with open arms and open hearts.

"He comes out, he gives everybody knuckles," Palmer said. "We get ready to break, he throws the football to the players."

He even got to be team captain at a recent game, and got to take part in the pre-game coin toss.

"It's just something I think is right," Palmer said. "You know he's a great kid that has a great heart, and he's good for us, he's good for this team, he's good for these kids."

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Coach Palmer says Trevor may not know it, but he's teaching his fellow teammates important life lessons.

"He's a great inspiration for them because sometimes they feel sorry for themselves, feeling a little tired, feeling a little down," Palmer explained. "And you gotta remind them, everyone has struggles, and you gotta put them in perspective, as to what you are dealing with and what Trevor is dealing with and how great he is handling his situation."

Trevor's joy, his smile, is something you can't forget.

"It's a shining light as he goes down the hall," Souza said.

"He has a way to make you smile, even on a bad day, when you think things are going wrong he has a way to make you smile for sure," Palmer added.

Trevor is right at home here at Kuna Middle School.

"We love it here, we are truly blessed to be going here with a staff and faculty that really do care," Michelle said.