Ryan Diviney (09/21/1989 – 08/31/2019)
Ryan Diviney (born September 21, 1989) is a former West Virginia University (WVU) student who existed in a vegetative state due to a violent assault that took place during the early morning hours of November 7, 2009.
Ryan succumbed to his injuries on August 31, 2019, nearly a decade after the attack.
His life gained national attention in the United States, and worldwide, for the brutality of the attack, the ensuing behavior of the attackers (and their famlies), innovation in brain injury treatment, and several landmark rulings in the country’s Federal Courts.
Ryan Diviney was born on September 21, 1989 in Reston, VA. Described by many as the “All-American Boy,” he had a passion for sports, women, and dogs.
As a high school student, Ryan was elected and won Homecoming Court to represent his class as an underclassman at Broad Run High School (Ashburn, VA). A gifted athlete, he played both baseball (named to the Top 50 prospects in the state of Virginia in just his sophomore year) and football. Ryan was the first in the 45-year history of the school to make the baseball All-District team three consecutive years. In a Dedication ceremony in May 2019, his jersey number was retired and a plaque was permenently affixed to the fields press box.
In the fall of 2008, Ryan began attending West Virginia University on a partial academic scholarship. At the time of his injury, Ryan was a sophomore with a 3.81 grade point average. During his first semester attending, he achieved a perfect 4.0 grade point average and was placed on the President’s List. He planned to enter a career as either a Judge or Senator after graduation.
He has a younger sister, Kari, who began attending WVU in the fall of 2010. She achieved her undergraduate degree in 2015, whereupon she began a teaching career for special needs students… inspired by Ryan’s struggles. Kari earned her Masters in Education from George Mason University in December 2019.
Assault and Brain Injury
Just after 3 a.m. on November 7, 2009, Ryan and two others were walking to a convenience store adjacent to the WVU campus when they encountered a larger group. Words were exchanged regarding the Philadelphia Phillies baseball team, and the conversation quickly became heated. Ryan was pushed and began walking backward, hands raised, to get away. Both of Ryan’s companions were assaulted; one of them, Bryan McLhinney, was rendered unconscious, his jaw broken.
As Ryan backed away, some from the larger group ran him down. WVU student Jonathon May approached from Ryan’s blind side and punched him in the face, knocking him unconscious. The punch lifted Ryan off his feet and he struck his head on a raised grate when he fell, causing damage to his brain stem and frontal lobes. At this point, 19-year-old Austin Vantrease, visiting from Newark, Delaware, approached Ryan and kicked the unconscious man in the head as if he were “punting a football,” according to witness testimony. May, Vantrease and the others from the larger group then ran, hiding briefly behind a dumpster before fleeing the scene. When paramedics arrived, Ryan was bleeding from the ears and suffering seizures. His breathing was shallow, slow, and labored.
Much of the encounter was captured on the convenience store’s video surveillance, which showed Ryan trying to escape.
Ryan suffered a fractured skull, a broken jaw, and bleeding of the brain. At Ruby Memorial hospital (Morgantown, WV), Ryan’s parents, Ken and Sue, were told that Ryan’s only chance of survival involved the removal of a portion of skull, approximately one-third, to allow for brain swelling. They consented to this procedure even as a priest was summoned to administer last rites. Ryan’s chances of surviving this operation were less than 50 percent. Ryan was also given only a slight chance of surviving the next three days, as his brain continued to swell.
Ryan barely survived, though his life in the first year after the attack remained tenuous as he endured repeated life-threatening episodes of neurological storming (also called “brain storming”) for 12 to 18 hours a day. His core body temperature swung below 92 degrees and as high as 109.8. His heart stopped twice, and he endured nine surgeries. As he no longer could blink, his eyes were sewn shut to prevent further damage; a procedure called Tarsorraphy. He was cared for at home, full-time, by his father in Ashburn, Virginia.
Ryan’s assailants, Jonathon Matthew May and Austin Issac Vantrease, both of Newark, Delaware, were arrested within weeks of the attack. Neither had stepped forward to claim responsibility and a manhunt by the Morgantown Police Detectives led to their capture in their hometown of Newark, Delaware, where each posted $75,000 bond.
In July, 2010, both were criminally convicted in West Virginia State Court. May was convicted of misdemeanor battery and sentenced to a year in jail; he served 7 months of the sentence. Vantrease was convicted of felony malicious assault and sentenced to 2 – 10 years, with a chance for parole after two years. He was been denied parole twice, in 2012 and 2013. An online petition to deny Vantrease’s July 2013 parole was signed by nearly 30,000 within a week, and ultimately received more than 156,000 signatures. When asked at his 2013 parole hearing why he kicked a clearly unconscious man in the head, Vantrease answered that he did not know. Through 2012 and 2014, Vantrease was incarcerated at Huttonsville Correctional Center and at the St. Mary’s Correctional Center in West Virginia; which is for the custody, control and care of adult male felons who have been convicted of severe crimes against man or nature.
Vantrease was release on parole in July 2014, after serving just four years. He was released under his parent’s supervision and currently resides i Delaware. Though the Criminal Court has ordered both May and Vantrease to pay approximately $102,000 in criminal restitution, they contributed just $125 in the first four years.
Ken Diviney filed civil suit on Ryan’s behalf; Diviney and McLhinney v. Vantrease, May, et al. Judge Irene Keeley, maneuvered to settle the suit in what was suggested as misuse of judicial authority. It was not only absent the Diviney’s consent, but they strongly opposed to it. The judgement was for an undisclosed (court sealed) amount that was described by Ryan’s father as “pennies on the dollar… that fell pennies short to be exchanged for a single nickel.”
The civil case, in United States Federal Court, did result in two landmark rulings:
- The Constitutional right to freedom of expression. A Vantrease’s motion was defeated to place a restraining order the website, ryansrally.org. Website and blog owners hailed this as a major victory.
- That tangible, non-tangible, and financial donations made to a victim may not be used to offset or reduce a defendant’s financial liability awarded to the plaintiff.
Daily care for Ryan involved hygiene, feeding through a tube, physical therapy, vibration therapy, tactile and sensation therapy, electrical stimulation therapy, hyperbaric oxygen treatment (HBOT), oral care, bowel and urine protocols, and the administration of dozens of medications and supplements, among others. Though he showed no clear signs of consciousness since his injury, Ryan’s family talked to him in positive tones, in the hope that some part of him could understand.
Many aspects of Ryan’s therapy was considered groundbreaking for those who suffer Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). He is recognized as the first with the extreme brain injury, known as Severe Disorders of Consciousness, to employ functional electrical stimulation (FES) exercises that trigger the muscles, albeit involuntarily, to engage in resistance training. Ryan was also the first confirmed person to use a hyperbaric oxygen chamber in his extreme condition.
The cost of Ryan’s care, comfort, and treatment is roughly $2 million annually. The Divineys had private health insurance that helped cover some of this expense, but a significant amount of the financial burden was not covered because brain injury treatment and recovery is mostly unknown and considered “experimental.”
According to medical experts at the time of the initial injury, the odds of Ryan ever regaining consciousness were only between ten and twenty percent, and with each passing year since the injury those odds were greatly reduced. Even if that would have occured, Ryan would have likely remained at a diminished capacity. The average life expectancy for someone in a vegetative state is between eight to ten years. All aspects of Ryan’s care and treatment were overseen by his father, Ken. The Diviney family maintains a popular opinion-based web site, Ryansrally.org (owned by Ryan’s Rally LLC), that provided regular updates on Ryan’s status, a blog, solicitation of donations, upcoming events, and other information. This website and all other social media continues after his death.
Storming: The Ryan Diviney Story
The official movie trailer (2:20 run time) for the documentary on Ryan. It gives a look into the challenges faced by those with TBI, the communities that surround them, and those who care for them. With supporting narratives from family, medical experts, friends, and others, the audience will follow the Divineys’ tenacious fight to maintain Ryan’s health as the clock ticks toward an unlikely recovery while his attackers live free. After nearly 10 years of fulfilling a promise to their son, they struggle to answer the ultimate question: Have they done all they can?
One Last Thing
Please follow Ryan’s Fan Page on Facebook: Ryan’s Rally: We Got This!
When Ryan passes those attackers better get charged with homicide. My son was suffocated and had TBI as well. he lived 12 years as a veg state. After he passed she got life for First degree murder. This was in Michigan. the same needs done. Wv Should of charged those involved with attempted murder. Parents must of been rich. Way to go WV. failed again
I’m at a lost of words……………………………………….(-_____________-) TO THE DAD AND FAMILY GOD BLESS Y’LL, GET THRU, RYAN I’M PRAYING FOR YOU. FROM THE BOTTOM OF HEART.
Keeping Ryan in prayer for many years and will continue to do so. To the Ryan family, you are doing a wonderful job tending day and night, hours and hours, round the clock care and may God forever bless you for not putting your son in a nursing facility but keeping him home and caring for him the way you’ve done and loving him. Your family are one of a kind, a rare diamond family that come far and very few.
What a tragedy. Ken you are truly Father of the Year. I know Ryan is safe and comfortable because of your tireless attention and love but I feel terrible for you. I pray that you get the peace and comfort you need to continue on this difficult journey. I won’t waste my breath on the two jackasses who did this but know that Karma is a wonderful thing.
Nathan Masters says
Hey, I just wanted to tell you that I was touched by your story and I hope the best for Ryan.
I saw this today. I thought of you and Ryan, whose story I have followed since the attack.
A person in a persistent vegetative state has regained consciousness following ultrasound treatment of the brain: http://www.mirror.co.uk/lifestyle/health/doctors-wake-coma-patient-jump-8697965
Praying for you and your family.
Brendan Wood says
I heard about this story a few years back when I was a sophomore and thought, “Wow, that’s horrible.” I didn’t do any research or find this page until now though, the fact that Austin isn’t even in jail anymore and Ryan may never wake up makes me sick to my stomach. I’ll run my heart out at the 5k next week.
Bless you amazing people! Very inspiring to see how you deal with any obstacle that comes your way the best you can. I happened to find out about ryansrally today by chance and I’m so happy to discover your approach,being courageous,loving,heroic people. Much love to Ryan and all the Diviney family x
Grayson Wise says
God bless you all
Peace be with you. I came across your story whilst studying for medical finals and it broke my heart. God bless you all; he will bring you justice and reunite you all in paradise. Ryan with his heart of gold will not go unrewarded for his good work, and what he has been through.
Nadia M says
God bless Ryan and your family and may you continue to find strength. I admire your courage and devotion to your son, what happened to him and your family is just a nightmare and the slaps on the wrist the assailants received make me sick to my stomach!! But we all have a higher authority to answe to and we all have our day of reckoning, God bless you and your family!
God bless you and your family. I just learned of this tragedy and my heart goes out to you. May you find renewed strength, comfort, and faith.
Debbie Tanner says
We think of you often!! Love and hugs to all
As a human being I am crying, as a WVU grad so sorry that it happened in a place I have so many good memories. My prayers will include your entire family nightly.
Anne Dabecco says
As a WVU graduate, my heart is broken that this heinous crime took place on our campus. I’ve followed Ryan’s Rally for some time and continue to be amazed at his progress, the love of his family and the devotion of his father’s care. Prayers & support continue for you.
sandy luzier says
I just read your story. I’m so sorry. I lost my oldest daughter from side affects to a severe traumatic brain injury that she sustained in a car accident. She survived and was doing better than expected for 2 and a half years. I was her primary care taker at home . Then blood clots took her life.
So much is unknown about TBI as you know. Keep fighting-
as for the assholes that caused this- keep going after them.
Thinking of you and knowing some of your daily struggles.
Judi Gray says
Your statistics on the lifespan for someone with Ryan’s traumatic brain injury pose the question, without meaning to be insensitive, in the event of a death years later of any crime victim in this state can’t the perpetrators then be retried for murder? This is one of the most heart wrenching stories ever. Have Ryan’s friends ever thought about getting volunteers to schedule sign ups to follow these two perpetrators through their crummy, useless days? Just walk behind them with signs with Ryan’s picture on it? I’m so sorry for your family. God bless you all and the wonderful care you give Ryan. He has to be feeling the love coming from all of you. I’m sure that’s what keeps him going. Prayers for all of you.
This breaks my heart. Such a handsome, talented, loving young man from what I observe in the pictures and loving words from yourself and your daughter. If one thing I can take away is we absolutely have no understanding what tomorrow will hold. No certainty that a walk to a local convenient store would be just that or Drastically change our lives forever. I Pray for your Pain and Brokenness. That somehow when looking your Son in the face everyday you can find Peace. I have no idea how I would respond and Pray I’m never giving such responsibilities. I have a 17 year old Son also 2 daughters and a 1 yr old Grandson, to think about this happening to one of them renders me speechless, heavy hearted, and crying. May God have Mercy on your Family and provide. Kiss your Son for Me. Ryan’s Life Matters.
ryansrally.org has potential, you can make your blog go viral
easily using one tricky method. Just search in google:
Kimting’s Method To Go Viral
Wow, I just came across this site from a friend of mine who is a wvu grad. I’ve read Ryan’s story. Many prayers for you all.
Our justice system has failed us again. I am sorry for Ryan’s condition and wish him the best. Revenge and hate will not bring Bryan back but may his assailants live miserable lives and die in pain. God Bless your family!
Nancy Arredondo says
Such a tragedy. I came across Ryans story on fb as I was looking for updates on my great niece Penny Pelton from Kosse Texas. On June 6th Penny had a severe allergic reaction and was unconscious for about 40 minutes. .The Dr’s have told our family she was brain dead, then that’s she was not brain dead, but that her brain has swelling and this was not going to change and if she lives she will be a vegetable. We are a FAMILY OF FAITH and we believe God is showing us that Penny is going to live and her brain will be restored . She has been on a ventilator since June 6th. My niece(Pennys Mother) has been told she will have to make some decisions:/ Tomorrow the will take her off the ventilator and if she does no breathe on her own, they will perform a treaceotomy on her. Penny is 7 yrs old. I have been encouraged by Ryans Story . I will pray for him continually and send support when I CAN . THANK YOU FOR SHARING RYANS STORY.GOD WILL PROVIDE FOR HIS EVERY NEED.
These crimes are attempted murder in my book. They are a disgrace to the human race. I am sickened by those sentences. SICKENED, DISGUSTED & ANGRY at whoever the judge was on Ryan’s case. How do you give sentences like that & then put your head down at night. Just HORRIBLE. I wish there was something I could do. Those 2 disgusting poor excuses for human beings should rot in jail. No better yet….should have the same thing done to them. Many prayers to Ryan & his family. God bless you Ryan & your family.
Those guys should still be in jail and almost makes you want to find them. Terrible. Disheartening. I’m so sorry, may God show himself in Ryans life and make a miracle happen.
Hi Ryan and family. I wrote a letter to you guys after receiving your wonderful family Christmas card. I really want to tell you that we are all behind you and I pray for you and I have so much faith in you 🙂 you’re an awesome person, Ryan, and your family is nothing short of incredible! Rally on!
Megan Cox says
Thoughts and prayers for Ryan and his family.
Ronald Barnhart says
It makes me sick that two losers like Vantrease and May got a ‘tsk, tsk …’ pat on the wrist for essentially taking a life. Our justice system is a debacle. What an atrocious miscarriage of justice. I am an ’86 Masters grad of WVU. I’ll keep what I’d like to do to those two clowns to myself. They probably feel THEY were wronged. Ill keep Ryan in my prayers. An eye for an eye is what I say. I’d give those scum LIFE in prison if I had it my way.
Josh J says
I am extremely sorry for the circumstances of Ryan. I am praying for him. I went to school with Austin since elementary school and played sports with him and never felt safe around him. He has always bullied other people and should still be incarcerated.
Stay strong – we are praying.
I am sitting here watching michael and sons cares. I hope he enjoys his new space and please stay encouraged. I will continue to pray for your family.
Dear family, i am so sorry to read Ryan’s story, the same happened in september 2009 to my son Jelte, who was only 8 years old when he was brutally attacked by two boys in the age of 10 and 14 years. My son had also big brain bleedings and was in a coma for a very long time..Now he is 14 years old, he cannot move much but he starts making sounds and is smiling a lot when he is having a good time, but oh how do i recognice your story’s, from Kari when she tells she is missing her brother so much, till the sadness you feel when the attackers and their family try to talk their way out of it, that made it worse for me and my family..Thank God we still have Jelte with us, but what do we miss our healthy happy son too….I hope miracles will happen someday for our children…God bless…
Beverly Yeager says
I couldn’t imagine what this is like for your family! I hope one day u receive a miracle & get to interact w/ your precious boy! … Stay strong no matter what! U all r an inspiration!!!
This is a very sad and unfortunate story. To think some bullies too away a promising future just for nothing. God bless Ryan and his family
Kayla lemley says
I have been following Ryan’s story for a couple years. Now that I’m a mother myself I have such a greater respect for all that you do Ken for your son! I pray with every fiber of my being I’ll get on Ryan’s page one day and see that he has made a full recovery! I wish there was something/anything I could do to help!
Stay strong. We will pray for you.
Stumbled across a picture of kari and Ryan today on facebook. While I do not know your family personally I do want to say that I pray for your family and although there is so much hate and bad in the world there is so much love and caring and your family
Shows that through how strong you are and how much you love and take care of Ryan. And I am confident that he knows it and feels it’s. He’s there And hears you! Merry Christmas and happy new year!
I am so sorry for this to happen to your family. Sending many thoughts and prayers.
Jonathan B. says
Words simply cannot express the sorrow I feel for Ryan, his family and friends, and anyone else affected by this tragedy. We in the tri-state area of Kentucky, Ohio, and West Virginia have witnessed so, so many people willingly destroy their brains, their consciousness, and their lives with narcotics and other pharmaceutical, prescription drugs, but it’s situations like this where families such as Ryan’s, and even Ryan himself, would give anything to regain use of their cognitive and motor functions.
So many people are willingly destroying themselves for a ‘quick fix’, meanwhile, Ryan is fighting with everything in him to maintain and–God willing–wake up from this nightmare he’s been stuck in for so, so long.
God bless the Diviney family and anyone else dealing with the repercussions of severe brain trauma. My heart truly goes out to you all.
Steve Adkins says
God Bless Ryan and all the family.
sherry dove says
God bless you all! I am in tears reading this, not only because of what Ryan has endured but because of the unconditional love that you all have for him. This family is strong & faithful, it breaks my heart that your lives are forever changed because of the monsters who did this. Praying so hard for you all!
Please know that my thoughts and prayers are with you. This is so heartbreaking, and I can’t imagine what you are going through. It’s so hard to understand why things like this happen; yet, God has kept Ryan alive for a reason. Even though you may not understand why He hasn’t healed your son, Romans 8:28 reminds us that “all things work together for good to them who love God.” Through this tragedy, Ryan has touched so many lives. I believe that he CAN hear you, and what a comfort for him to know that you are right there by his side. Thank you for sharing Ryan’s story, for it needs to be told! May God bless you!!
I attended WVU and feel horrible that such a horrific act happened there. Many, many, many prayers to Ryan and the entire family.
Such a heartbreaking story… All I can think as I read is the potential of life that Ryan had. So unbelievably sorry about the terrible event that affected your family, friends, and son. Prayers always.
Kerri Curran says
You and your family are my new hero’s…
Praying you find some peace in this deplorable situation. Your strength is admired.
My heart is breaking as I read this. I have a 22 year old son and a 17 year old daughter who are everything to me. This is so close to home. I can not even begin to imagine what you and your family have been through. I admire your courage and determination to keep your story at the forefront. Ryan deserves nothing less. As far the two men (if you can even call them that) that took Ryan’s quality of life…..a great travesty of justice is an understatement!! I am a nurse whose patients are all nuns will be putting Ryan’s name as well as your family in the prayer book in chapel when I go into work. May God bless you and keep you in his care!!!!!!
Prayers for Ryan & his family.
Every time i read the stories about Ryan i get so mad at Austin V and Justin M and i want to beat the shit out of both of them. I pray everyday that maybe soon Ryan will wake up and get better so that he can confront the evil that did this to him. I don’t know what his reaction would be to them but i would not be nice to them myself.
Ken I don’t know how ya’ll make it on a day to day basis but Ryan is so proud to have all of ya’ll, you are his support line to the world and i hope someday to get to meet all of you all and hug your neck and say GOOD JOB from the bottom of my heart, I love all of you all and especially Ryan. Keep up the good job…forever in our hearts and forever in my thoughts and prayers for Ryan’s recovery.
Love from Clayton, GA
Every time I hear about West Virginia University in any capacity, which is quite often, I say a prayer for Ryan and his family.
I was re-reading over the story again, I’ve always wondered, was anyone charged with the assault against Bryan and the other person with Ryan?
Travis Wall says
Ryan, keep fighting to obtain your health.. I am a survivor of a TBI as well, and I am truly touched and blessed by reading his story. Diviney family, keep your faith in the Lord, He hears all and there is power in prayer. I am a testimony of that. God bless the entire family, friends and supporters. #RyansMyHero #DivineysInMyHeart
God bless you Ryan and your family. The Scumbags should have been given life in jail yet they have ruined yours. Thoughts and prayers from Derry, Ireland.
I saw your daughters birthday post for Ryan’s 25th on facebook. Happy birthday Ryan.
I’m so sorry that this ever happened to him and to you all, from the bottom
Of my heart I send strength and love and compassion and a heap load of prayers
Abby Sherrill says
I am so sorry that this has happened to your family. I was scrolling through Facebook and saw a post from Kari that my friend had shared, so I wanted to know the story. As I read it, I was in tears. It’s horrible. I cannot imagine. I will be donating ASAP.
ali holt says
Absolutely unbelievably disgusting how ANYONE could do such a thing!!!! God bless you Ryan and your family! We will pray for you!!
This world is a horrible place. Prayers are always with both Ryan and the loving family that he is blessed with.
Praying for God’s will. I am a caregiver also and it takes a very selfless and patient person. I will eventually need to care for my husband who has HD. May God bless you immensely.
Jerry Hall says
God Bless You , Ryan and all Family members affected by this tragedy! These people should not see the light of day for what they have done! May the Lord be with you and guide you through these trying times! Ryan the Lord has a special plan for people as good as you! Unfortunately it is the ones who love you the most who hurt the worst! God Bless You All
I always avoid the news because it is always filled with stories of man’s ambition to destroy one another. But a friend of mine shared this story on her facebook and when I read it my heart just broke for your family. As a mother I can not even begin to comprehend the range of emotions you must feel every day. I’m very sorry that all I have to offer are my prayers. Even if the judicial system lets you down, the heavens will not. I am a firm believer that whatever you put out Into the universe is returned, and in due time it will happen. Sending love and hopes that you and your boy can find peace in your hearts.
Lori holbrook says
May God bless you and your family. May God look down with a loving hand and touch you and bring blessing to you.
Raymond Kwek says
First I’ve heard this story. Ray was a prominent young man well on his way to accomplishing great things. Such a shame some punks whom obviously won’t pay for their crime, we’re able to steal life from him. Such a wake up call to me. And should be to everyone. Here we complain when getting caught at a red light, or having to wait in line at the grocery store, or having a headache, yet we are blessed with the gift of life and are fortunate enough to enjoy this gift. Poor Ryan is not. He will be in my prayers. I believe in miracles, and will believe in this miracle just the same. So sorry to hear of Ryan ‘ s misfortune. In my opinion these boys’ punishment should be the same way they did Ryan. Two wrongs don’t make a right, but still……praying for you, Ryan. Hang in there buddy, and praying for your family as well
Justin Smith says
I was assaulted in Middle school when i had my face slammed into a master lock for no apparent reason and nothing was done but a suspension for the kid who did this. And in turn less than a year later i was attacked by the same kid in the bathroom while i was using the urinal by him placing a trashcan over my head and proceeded to slam my face into the urinal and then proceeded to kick me while i was on the floor hurt and this man still was free today. I never saw justice from this, the judge said boys will be boys and let the kid back into the school system i lived in so much fear that i had to drop out of HS and get my GED because i was afraid for my life this makes me feel that if i hadn’t dropped out i may have been in the same position as Ryan or worse Dead myself so this Thug Should Not be allowed Parole ever He Should be locked up behind bars for the remainder of his life as Ryan’s remainder of his life is being served in a living hell of pain and suffering for not only him but his amazing family
Britny Schumacher says
This story makes me realize how truly special and blessed we are to be here on this Earth. I pray that justice is served. God bless you and your family.
Thomas Helper says
Jesus preached that men must turn the other cheek. This incident happened when these boys were….boys. From what I have read about this tragedy is that your son was indeed the one to make a first negative comment and then even turn to approach the kids and talk back even more. Even if it wasn’t in Ryan’s nature to do so, he was intoxicated. Austins family proclaims it was also not in his nature to act out as he did, but he too was intoxicated. The court came to find he was an honor roll student and had never had any prior charges. I felt for you and your family but it appears to me you have consumed yourself with hate and have been quite sinful. Speaking about a family who is suffering just as much as you are in such a nasty way is not only cowardly but pathetic. Men can forgive even the harshest of actions. This was an act fueled by alcohol and in this event both sides lost. Your sons friends left him at the scene. Had they stayed with him and called the police maybe Ryan would be in a different state. West Virginia is a university that is a home for fights and your son was involved in one. I can see where the hatred and rage comes from but this blog is disturbing, pathetic, cowardly, and shows you are not one of faith. Get some therapy, Im surprised this family hasn’t sued you for slandering their name and continuously stalking their lives.
Unless you have a brain injured person in your family, you have no right to speak to the Diviney family this way. My husband was brain injured in an auto accident that was the fault of the other driver. That driver was fined $25 for inattentive driving and went on her merry way. We, on the other hand, deal with the result of her actions every single day for the rest of our lives, and the devastating financial reality of it all. It is hard not to be bitter in our situation, so I cannot imagine when a TBI is the result not just of an accident, but of a violent choice by another person.
It is not your place to point out the sins of other people. If you are going to quote Jesus, He also said that “he who is without sin, cast the first stone.” Please don’t cast stones at this family who is doing everything they can to give Ryan as good a life as possible. Unless you are living with a TBI survivor, you cannot even begin to imagine what their lives are like.
Amanda (WVU alum) says
Thomas Helper, I take major offense by your response to this blog. Yes all families involved have lost in this tragic event, but the families of the other boys are still able to have conversations with their sons/ brothers. This poor family has truly lost who their son once was. God Bless them in their journey to a new normal. As a WVU grad myself, I take major exception to saying that WVU is a fighting school… I would say there are way more schools known for violence then WVU. They may be known as a group for big parties and getting rowdy after football games, but not for nearly killing people in fights (regardless of alcohol consumption)! I always felt safe walking at any hour of the day or night around Morgantown (and I am a woman).
although this comment is years later, I’m with you on your comment. I try to keep up on how Ryan is doing. If that had been one of my brothers that happened too, the people or person responsible would not have been around soon after.
Thomas Helper above- what a loser using religion and alcohol to protect such cowardly acts. If this was my son, those two cowards violent act would be treated as an eye for an eye ( theres your religion Mr. Helper), then maybe their families would feel a fraction of what Ryan’s family has had to endure.
Forgive me if you are suffering from a mental illness as only someone with a major mental disability would make such foolish suggestions as Mr. Helper has.
The major problem with this country is that people go to prison for years for stealing household items, and these cowards got a slap on the hands for stealing a life.
dresia vaughn says
I’m with you Bill on your comment.
Thomas, You are an idiot… and we are all stupider for having read your post. May God have mercy on your soul.
Constantly thinking of you, Ryan, and your family.
It truly is unfathomable how someone could do this to another human being and then believe they don’t deserve the consequences. Vantrease deserves ALL ten years AT LEAST. If Ryan doesn’t get to live his life, why should these criminals? I hope Ryan is the first thing and last thing Vantrease and May think about every day for the rest of their lives. I hope the image of what they did to Ryan haunts them forever. I hope I cross paths with them one day so I can tell them myself how I and the majority of our country feels. I hope they never find careers, a spouse, or any happiness- they deserve nothing.
Sandy Clifton says
I so agree with your statement Sarah!! Those “criminals” should be in jail for life, at the very least 25 to 30 years and don’t deserve the happiness of jobs, marriages or anything…they deserve nothing! It just breaks my heart to hear what they did to Ryan….he was innocent and these “idiots” destroyed his life!! My thoughts and prayers are with Ryan and his family. God Bless you all and keep you in His care!!
My Heart goes out to you all! My best friend who’s only 30 is in the hospital and his left bone flap was removed as well due to brain swelling from a massive stroke. Moreover parts of his brains frontal lobe was also removed since the damage was so large and had to be done to save his life. While he’s awake he doesn’t walk talk or do much at this point. I can really appreciate and understand what everyone close to Ryan is going through. Remember to NEVER stop believing! The world is full of miracles. Have faith. I am so sorry to hear this. Sending lots of prayers and strength for Ryan and his loved ones
Kay Grom says
We will pray for your brother and share the story.
Bless you all.
Seven months is all May served for taking the “life” out of Ryan? It’s sickening and disgusting what these Delaware delinquents did to your son. I, too, have a son and I can’t imagine what I’d do to both of those thugs if it were my son. I’d be begging God to show me forgiveness because I don’t know how I’d ever find it on my own. May God bless you for all that you have been through and for all that you do every day for your son. When you speak to him, know that he hears you. He just can’t respond. The Lord, our Savior, knows your talking to your son and will bless you for being the wonderful parent that you are. I’m so sorry that these two cowards took so much away from your incredibly smart and talented son. They should rot in jail forever for their awful crimes.
This just makes me sick. God bless you for closing ranks and being what Ryan needs. I’m seriously just sick over it.
It is heart breaking that the individuals that have caused your family so much pain and suffering will be back to their normal routines in a short time while Ryan on the other hand will never be the same…I pray for your family’s continued strength and Ryan’s recovery. This is an eye opener to the cruel and heartless people in the world and what they are capable of but whatever you do don’t allow them to make you bitter and angry…your family has a testimony. God bless!
Please, all of you who read this…even $5.00 a month from you could go a long way. Please don’t think that because you cant do a lot that you shouldn’t do anything. This family never gets rest and their costs will continue to mount. I live on disability checks but am happy to have given up drinking diet soda to find the money to help them (needed to give it up anyway). You can autopay via paypal. Believe me, you will be blessed ten fold.
continued prayers for strength and healing.
May God continue to bless your family. I read your story and my heart felt the pain you must be feeling daily. I’l be praying for Ryan and the family
I saw ur YouTube video as I was looking for Inservice videos on peg tube care for my father’s caregivers. I was so touched by ur involvement with ur sons care I had to check out ur story. My father had a strict feeding protocol while getting rehab in a nursing home, mainly not to left alone cause he was paralyzed on left side. We’ll being able to feed himself, verbal and only 64 the caregiver felt she could leave him alone and when he was rechecked he had chocked and suffered a lack of oxygen brain injury leaving him in a vegetative state. I care for my 65 year old father at home and touched to see others able to do that as well. Many people feel I’m crazy, sweet but crazy to take on such work. Nice to know there are people out there that love their family not matter what happens to them and never gives up. God bless you all and god will repay u for ur scarifies for loving and caring for one of his own.
Ellen Hayes in Canada says
There are no words,I just read Ryan’s story through his dad and I am shocked at what happened to this man over a team, I am so sorry that this is the life that Ryan has to endure, I can only imagine what your days are like and how hard it is on you and your wife,I wish that I could do something but I am only one person,what I can do is pray for your son and for you and your wife,I wish there was more, I am so sorry for what has happened to Ryan and his Family. God Bless you All and I pray for a miracle for this young man Prayers from Nova Scotia
So sorry for what happened. God bless your family.
Monique Desrochers says
So very sorry. If this happened in Florida, both attackers would be facing life for attempted murder. You might consider working with your State Legislature to change the laws to help other families find justice in the future.
Betty Tijerina says
I can not even begin to imagine the pain you must be feeling. Please know that I am praying for you and loved ones to walk with God and his grace through this journey.
Julianne Orr says
There are no words! I feel numb with heartache and sorrow ! WHY o WHY?? It makes me hate people when I see this cruelty but then I see your love and it reminds me that there are some VERY good people like you. I believe in you and what you are doing and he most definitely feels your LOVE.
So sorry this happened to your son! God Bless your whole family!
God bless you Ryan and your family