Grant Milton: One year later
THE WOODLANDS, Texas -- One year ago, Grant Milton was putting the final touches on his paperwork to attend University of Texas-Austin.
One year ago, Grant was on the football field in Waco with his Woodlands Highlander teammates as they faced Austin Bowie during regional playoffs.
Today, the 19-year-old lives at Touchstone Neurorecovery Center in Conroe -- the result of a traumatic brain injury he received during that Nov. 26 game.
"I think we all thought he'd be much further along than he is," said Grant's father, Miles Milton. "Yet at the same time, when we think back to a year ago, he was in a coma, fully ventilated, and we didn't know if he would even make it. So when you compare it against that, he's light years ahead."
Grant underwent emergency surgery in Waco immediately after the game and was in a coma for several weeks. He transferred to TIRR Memorial Hermann in Houston in January 2017. In June, Grant moved to Touchstone.
Grant has a feeding tube, but a recent highlight is his ability to occasionally eat small amounts of pureed food.
"He's able to taste food and make chewing motions, just ever so slightly," Miles said. "So he did have a 'Thanksgiving' meal."
Miles said Grant has plateaued in recent weeks, but the reasons behind any setbacks tend to vary. It could be a low-grade fever, a minor infection or simply that he's tired.
Grant's routine at Touchstone includes regular physical therapy. Sometimes he responds to his therapists' instructions to lightly kick a ball, sometimes he doesn't. Sometimes he seems to know his family is there, sometimes he doesn't.
"The thing Grant has going for him is he has youth on his side, so more improvement is possible," Miles said. "But the fact is, he'll never be the same. The child we had a year ago just isn't there anymore. That's the hardest realization. But I think of people who have lost a child outright … and I just can't imagine. I can still go visit my son and talk to him."
Miles is also thankful for continued community support.
"People haven't forgotten about him," Miles said. "He's always on their minds."
You can follow Grant's progress on CaringBridge, or visit his GoFund Me page here.