SARASOTA (WWSB) - Jaelen Childs is inspiring a lot of people. His teammates are dedicating their entire season to him.
Childs is lucky to be alive. He lies in a hospital bed following a horrific crash on the night of January 31st. He would rather be on the baseball field with his teammates playing the sport he loves and enjoying his senior year at Cardinal Mooney High School in Sarasota.
“On the first day when he was awake he asked me what we’re doing at practice today coach, so his spirits are up," said Greg Mulhollen, Head Baseball Coach for Cardinal Mooney High School. "He has baseball on his mind for recovery and he’s got a good support staff.”
This nightmare for Jaelen happened when he was driving through a green light off of the Fruitville Road exit and struck by a vehicle that went through a red light at a high rate of speed. He managed to unbuckle his seat and crawl through the passenger side window of his car. Fortunately, a deputy in an unmarked vehicle was right behind him and immediately got him help. He suffered a shattered left femur and pelvis as well as internal bleeding. Shirts and signs of Jaelen Strong can be seen all over the campus.
“It’s really unfortunate that it happened, he’s a great kid, not sure why things like this happen to good people like this,” said Peyton Jula, a pitcher and third baseman for the team.
“It hurts me emotionally, I was pretty close with him and just to know this season was taken away from him hurts me,” said Tyler Copeland, a catcher.
Jaelen had just moved to the Suncoast with his family from Chicago last Summer for the sole purpose of playing baseball year round. The 18-year-old has had many blood transfusions and does have a long road to recovery. A teammate of his started a GoFundMe page to help with medical expenses, it’s a page where legendary broadcaster and Lakewood Ranch resident Dick Vitale left him a message. Star baseball player Manny Machado even sent him a video message.
“I’m wishing you a very fast recovery, me and my family down here are praying for you, we’re all praying for the best,” said Machado.
The driver of the car was ticketed for failing to stop at a steady red signal. Jaelen is continuing his recovery at Sarasota Memorial Hospital. For more information on how you can help his family with medical expenses, you can log onto https://www.gofundme.com/jaelen-childs.