PRINCETON — Keep those prayers coming for Josiah Gore.
A junior football player at Princeton, Gore was seriously injured in an accident involving an all-terrain vehicle on Wednesday afternoon, and is currently in the Intensive care unit at Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital.
According to Princeton football coach Chris Pedigo, he received notice at around 5 p.m. on Wednesday that Gore had flipped an ATV in the community he calls home off Beckley Road in Princeton.
He was initially taken to Princeton Community Hospital, and then transported by ambulance to Roanoke. Rainy weather didn’t allow transport by air.
“It is very serious,” said Pedigo, of Gore, who was expected to start on the defensive line for a third straight season for the Tigers. “He has a broken spine, he has a broken shoulder, he has broken ribs. (Thursday) they did about a 4 1/2 hour surgery. They did an infusion of the t7 to the t11 (on his spine). They felt like things went extremely well. There was no spinal leakage, no fluid leakage. With the extent of the injuries the doctor thought there was a positive out of that negative, it was about the best it could be in that situation.”
Pedigo, who went to Roanoke after practice ended on Thursday was able to communicate with the 16-year-old Gore, who has been sedated with an intubation tube inserted in his throat to aid in breathing.
“The early prognosis is he is going to be there at least a week, probably more,” Pedigo said. “(Thursday) I was able to go back and talked to him and he responded to me. I said, ‘Hey, this is coach’ and he squeezed my hand. We talked a little bit, obviously he is not responding back because of sedation. I told him to take care of the nurses and he squeezed my hand.
“After I left and got back toward the house somebody texted me and said he had opened his eyes. There were reports (Friday) morning that he had opened his eyes. Once he starts following some commands, their plans are to get the intubation tube out.”
Preparations have continued for the upcoming football season, but thoughts of players and coaches remain with Gore, where he is accompanied by his mother and step-father, who are receiving lodging and meals at a nearby Ronald McDonald House in Roanoke.
“(Thursday’s) practice was different because we had a lot of guys and coaches, including myself, that were worried about Jo,” said Pedigo, in his second season as the Princeton coach, who said Gore was ‘a strong kid, comes in and does everything you ask’. “We had a good practice. When I finished up practice I went down and spent some time with the family. I was able to see Josiah and what I tried to do on the football end was try to keep my team as updated as possible so they can know.
“There are guys that want to go see him, but he is not quite ready to be seen yet. We are just trying to keep them as informed as we can and be able to answer any questions that they may have. Still, on the football end, try to keep preparing as best as we can.”
Coaches and players from across the region and state have contacted Pedigo, offering their prayers and support for Gore, including Wes Eddy, who was Gore’s coach as a freshman at Princeton, along with Bluefield senior quarterback Chandler Cooper.
“Chandler reached out to me yesterday and he offered his prayers and said, ‘Coach, we are praying for him.’ I appreciate that,” Pedigo said. “We play against each other on Friday night, but we are a big football family when we are not playing against each other and it meant a lot to me...I have talked to probably 8 to 10 different head coaches. I know Coach Eddy had him as a freshman, I know he has reached out and expressed his prayers.”
Pedigo was highly complimentary of the care Gore has received, from the Princeton Rescue Squad to the emergency room doctor at PCH and the staff in Roanoke.
“Josiah is in the same ICU unit my father was in a few years ago and has brought back a lot of memories,” Pedigo said. “He is getting A-1 treatment. In the world of negatives and everything that has happened there, there have been a lot of things that are going in his favor when it comes to care and prayer. That has been a blessing. It has meant a lot to me, it has meant a lot to our football team and it has meant a lot to his family.”
Pedigo said donations for the Gore family can be made through Stacey Hicks at the Princeton Rescue Squad. He added that a GoFundMe page via Facebook is expected to be ready for use soon.
— Contact Brian Woodson at email@example.com