I noticed a hefty amount of referrals — around 5,000 — from Reddit yesterday and overnight. Specifically, it is from conversation related to a video titled Payback is a Bitch (Fight from Las Vegas) that has since been removed from the site. I wish I could have seen it, but the comments make it seem like circumstances similar to Ryan’s brutal attack.
For those new to this site and haven’t seen us on television or in the media, I’ll give a brief summary of what happened to my son. If you’re interested, the Newsroom page is loaded with media accounts.
I hope you watched the above video from the Today Show. It bring people up to speed quickly. Another excellent source is an article that first appeared in the Washington Post that soon was picked-up nationwide by the Associated Press.
But first, Ryan was the epitome of the all-American boy. Handsome. Athletic. Intelligent. He was never involved in a fight, being a person who rather settled disputes by matching wit-on-wit. He finished his Freshman year at WVU with a 3.8 GPA, wanting to become a politician or judge. Well, you get the idea.
On November 7, 2009 Ryan was walking with two friends from his off-campus house to an all-night store about a quarter of a mile away. They were going to get some late night snacks. A group of at least seven people, came from the opposite direction. According to court testimony, they were intoxicated, loud, and obnoxious.
They engaged Ryan and his friends in a verbal altercation. When Ryan sensed they were getting too aggressive (they circled him) he began to back away. The group followed him. He back-peddled with his hands up in a clearly no threatening way (this was all captured on store video). They ran him down… he was surrounded.
Meanwhile, Austin Vantrease, for reasons he might only know punched Ryan’s roommate in the jaw as he stood peacefully off to the side. The jaw was broken in two places and the roommate fell, unconscious before he even hit the ground. He spent months with his mouth wired shut.
Ryan began toward his roommate when Jonathan May punched him in the face. Ryan never saw it coming. A sucker-punch, for sure. Ryan was hit with such force that a witness said his feet came out from under him and his head struck the ground first (on a raised metal grate). Like his roommate, he was knocked out before hitting the ground.
While already with his life in peril, Austin Vantrease ran over and kicked him in the head. A witness said “he punted his head like a football”. Then… he kicked him some more.
Ryan had blood coming from his ears, nose, and mouth. He began to seize. Austin and Jonathan ran and hid behind a dumpster. After the ambulance took Ryan away, they went to another party.
At 4:00AM we received a call from Ruby Memorial Hospital. They say “Your son was found unresponsive in a parking lot”. We are told to come quickly. When we arrive 3 hours later he is clinging to life. He has tubes and wires all over his body. It’s a sight I still have nightmares about.
They tell us it looks bad. Really bad. He is given last rites before going into surgery to remove about 1/3 of his skull so the brain can swell. His chances of making it through the operation itself are 50/50, at best.
Since that day, we have experienced so many 50/50 scenerios. I could tell you about his brain in such chaos that his body temperature went to 109.8 (yes, that’s one-hundred-nine), or so low a thermometer wouldn’t even register. He spent much of the time with fevers of 103 to 106 degrees. He would lay on a cooling blanket, packed in ice, with the room temperature as low as it could go and a fan blowing on him. There were times his blood pressure went beyond stroke levels. His heart-rate would race at over 180 beats per minute. This happened every single day for six months, lasting up to 18 hours a day. Yes, his regulatory system was badly damaged.
Those episodes (called “brain storming”) have hopefully gone away for good now. They are the mind and body in chaos. The brains neurons misfiring while the body is in spasm.
I left my job to care for Ryan twenty-four hours a day. I have him out of bed by 7:00AM every morning and work with him until at least 7:00PM every day.
There is so much more to this story. I hope you take the time to join the ten-thousand followers and read some past posts, look at the photos, and check in on us every once in a while.