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East County Friday, Mar. 22, 2019 1 year ago

Former Lakewood Ranch basketball player out of intensive care

His family said he is able to talk and walk.
by: Ryan Kohn Sports Reporter

March 19 was the happiest day of Mike Kelley's life, he said. 

It was the day he walked into Sarasota Memorial Hospital and saw his 19-year-old son, former Lakewood Ranch High basketball player Jack Kelley, acting like himself again. 

Jack Kelley, a freshman at the State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota, was the victim of a hit-and-run crash Feb. 28 that left him in intensive care with a traumatic brain injury. But on March 19, Kelley was talking in complete sentences, Mike Kelley said, and cracking jokes. He was moving around — using a walker — by himself. Later that day, Jack Kelley was moved out of intensive care. 

"He had improved by leaps and bounds," Mike Kelley said. "Jack decided he was going to do this at his own pace. He was going to make it happen.

"Judging from the reactions of his doctors and nurses, he has done way better than anticipated. Being 19 and strong and in shape certainly helps."

While Jack is improving, Mike said he does not want people to get the wrong impression. There is a long way to go in Jack's recovery, he said, with no clear timetable. Mike said he urges people to keep praying. 

He also passed on a message from Jack, who said he is grateful for all the love and support he has received, from his basketball family and beyond. 

Jack's GoFundMe page is still open for donations. 

I’m the sports reporter for Sarasota and East County and a Missouri School of Journalism graduate. I was born and raised in Olney, MD. My biggest inspirations are Wright Thompson and Alex Ovechkin. My strongest belief is that mint chip ice cream is unbeatable.

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