LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – On June 3, at the Arkansas High School State Rodeo Finals, 17-year-old Brannon McMinn got on a bull for what was his final ride of the night.
Brannon got hung up, then caught up under the bull, causing a very serious brain injury.
“His head was shaken, so he has multiple injuries around his brain and deep inside,” said mother, Stacey McMinn.
Brannon spent two weeks in the I-C-U, in a coma and sedated.
His mother, Stacey McMinn said, “we got a little bit of thumb movement and stuff since the end of that second week and then when they finally took him off the ventilator we started getting half eyes”.
This past week he was moved to Arkansas Children’s Hospital rehab unit.
His mom and dad said he has been improving every day.
“We are witnessing developmental milestones that you see over five years for a child, we are seeing these over days,” said mother, Stacey McMinn.
On the July 4 weekend, he began to gain a little independence. He started to do things, like talking and expressing himself.
For his parents, it was better than fireworks.
Mom, Stacey McMinn, said, “to see him breathe on his own, open his eyes a little bit, smile, that was huge, Saturday we had our true first facial expression”.
Brannon has been doing things on his own. Dad, Jimmy McMinn said, “he is able to stand up by himself on one leg with little assistance. Reach back and lower himself in and out of chairs”.
This journey is full circle for Brannon because he helped his parents with rehab training, teaching people with these types of injuries while growing up.
“He remembers like when we worked on assist to stand, or when we had to use a sling to lift him from bed into the chair before he was able to assist, he knew what to do,” said mother, Stacey McMinn.
Through it all, his parents say his faith could not be stronger.
“One of the first things he wrote when the therapist asked him what his favorite book was, he wrote Bible”, said mom Stacey McMinn.
The community is making and selling B-Strong for Brannon T-shirts to help the family with medical bills, while also starting a GoFundMe.