by Kari Diviney
I Lost My World.
Four years ago today I lost my hero. I lost the one I looked up to since I was born. I lost my protector, my world, my everything. I lost my big brother. Yes he is still alive, but it’s not Ryan anymore… it’s everything Ryan was, and everything he could’ve been. The Ryan I know now has traumatic brain injury that has left him in an Eyes-open minimally conscious state. My brother can’t speak… he can’t laugh… can’t tell us what or how he is feeling… and that contagious squinty-eyed smile he has in this picture has not been seen since November 7th of 2009.
My brother, Ryan Diviney, was brutally attacked at the young age of 20 years old at the school he attended and loved, West Virginia University.
My brother was a sophomore in college. My brother had a 3.8 GPA and received an award for making President’s List. Ryan knew everyone, and everyone knew Ryan. Ryan’s friends all called him Diviney, and Diviney was their goofy squinty-eyed friend who was passionate about everything he spoke about, and was notorious for talking with his hands. My brother knew how to make everyone feel special. He listened to everything anyone had to say and was always there to lend an ear whenever someone needed. Ryan was brilliant. He was funny. He was genuine. Ryan had the whole world ahead of him and he knew what he wanted to do with it.
Ryan loved sports. He was a three-sport athlete and excelled in everything he played. Ryan could talk about professional sports all day and would stop and talk about them to anyone who would listen. He so enjoyed talking sports and getting into heated sports debates with his friends and people he would meet….but on the night of November 7th….he talked sports with the wrong people.
The Wrong People.
The topic of debate… The 2009 World Series. As Ryan and his friends were walking together one night to get pizza stromboli from the Dairy Mart down the street from his college house… they passed a group of kids. Someone was wearing a Phillies hat and they started talking about who they thought was going to win…within a minute….you see Ryan being surrounded by the group (as seen on the official court video tape recording). You then see Ryan back-pedaling with his hands up until he is out of the frame.
My brother was attacked that night along with his friend Brian McLhinney and a fellow high school teammate. Ryan has never laid a hand on anyone, and he was attacked as he was trying to get away.
My brother was attacked and left for dead by two boys from Newark Delaware, Jonathan May and Austin Vantrease… two strangers.
Jonathan may sucker punched my brother with a punch so hard it swept my brother off his feet and his head immediately struck a raised metal grate on the pavement. Ryan’s head hit the grate before any other part of his body, and he was immediately knocked unconscious. As my brother lay unconscious and motionless, Austin Vantrease took a running start and kicked my unconscious brother square in the head, described by a witness as “kicking him so hard it looked like he was punting a football.”
My brother’s body immediately started seizing as blood exited from his mouth nose and ears. Jonathan May and Austin Vantrease ran behind a dumpster and watched my brother as he was dying…then left him and proceeded on to a party where they bragged about how bad they beat him.
Police were called by witnesses and Morgantown Officer Jimmy Smith was the first to help Ryan. Jimmy held my brother’s head until an ambulance arrived and took my brother to Ruby Memorial Intensive Care Unit. Officer Smith said he thought Ryan was going to die in his arms.
My parents received the middle of the night, dreaded phone call that no parent ever wants to receive. The hospital called from my brother’s cell phone and instead of hearing my brother’s voice on the other line they heard a nurse telling them to get to Morgantown as fast as possible and that their son was found unresponsive in a parking lot.
In order for Ryan to survive they needed to do emergency surgery to remove a part of his left skull to let his brain have more room to swell. If this wasn’t done Ryan would’ve died within hours… Getting the surgery alone was a flip of the coin to live… and we were warned he could die on the surgery table. Even after his craniotomy was performed, the doctors told us that they didn’t think Ryan would make it 48 hours.
But against all odds, my brother survived that night. And he is still with us, fighting for his life every single day.
Ryan, Please Come Back.
I miss my big brother so badly. Growing up I always thought he was so cool, and I wanted to be just as cool as him. I always swore he was the favorite and he knew how to persuade my parents into anything. Ryan was rare. He could leave a mark on anybody…and could make anyone smile. And I so wish he could come back.
Since I was born, it was always me and Ryan. Ryan was my only sibling and I was so used to having my big brother around all the time. Now, everything I do feels so empty. I know he should be here, with me, doing the same things… and he’s not.
Every dinner there’s a spot missing. Every Christmas I read the Night Before Christmas alone…. Every time I see his Jeep Wrangler in the drive-way I feel like he should be driving it… He should be experiencing being young… He had so much more life to live, so much more to give.
Ryan did not deserve this, my parents should not have had this happen to their son. No one deserves this fate.
My brother was attacked when he was 20 years old… I was 18 at the time… Now I am 22. I am older than my older brother. Ryan’s life stopped when he was 20 years old, and everyday we pray for a miracle that one day… He and that squinty smile and goofy laugh might come back to us.
No matter who you are, you can help keep my brother relevant by sharing his story and joining Team Diviney! So please, no matter who you are, your support means everything to us.
Please share, whoever you are and help keep my brother relevant. My dad was not emotionally able to write today, but you must read what he wrote yesterday. It is title No, Not Today.