By Jessie Williams
The Red Boiling Springs teenager who sustained serious injuries in a one-vehicle wreck on September 29, has miraculously gone home - despite all of his doctors’ predictions.
Chronicle readers may recall last week’s haunting front page photo of a nearly unrecognizable, crumpled, black Toyota Camry.
As reported last week, the teen driving the vehicle fell asleep at the wheel on his way home from work, ran off the road, struck a culvert and went airborne. The vehicle then traveled approximately 107 feet in the air making contact with the ground, then went into a barrel roll traveling several more feet before coming to rest in the field.
The driver, 17-year-old Austin Hudgins, was trapped and had to be extricated from the vehicle and airlifted to Vanderbilt Medical Center in Nashville.
The Macon County Chronicle recently reached out to Austin’s mother, Tiffany Senchuk, for an update on his recovery from a long list of serious injuries including a fractured sternum, a fractured jaw, four breaks in his spine, a concussion, a break in his skull and a partial brain bruise.
And much to our surprise, Austin has surpassed all expectations and is recovering at home after only a few days in the hospital.
“He’s doing really good,” Tiffany said. “They told us at Vanderbilt they didn’t know if he would survive it. We asked for prayers. We received so many prayers from all over the country. Then there was this huge change - even the nurses couldn’t believe it.”
Doctors estimated Austin would be in the Vanderbilt Trauma unit for at least a week, but he only spent one day in a trauma unit room and then two days in a regular hospital room.
Austin, who is a senior at Red Boiling Springs High School and played football at RBS, still has a long road to recovery that includes physical therapy, plastic surgery, and healing in a brace from his waist to his chin for the next eight weeks.
“Austin tries to keep a positive attitude about his recovery,” Tiffany remarked. “He keeps telling me he’s ‘Bulldog Strong’ and he’s gonna walk! We are just so thankful that we still have him here - this was God’s hand.”
Tiffany says Austin is most disappointed that his high school football career is over, since it was always his dream to play for the Bulldogs.
But for now, she says, they are trying to concentrate on the good stuff - like the community support they have received.
“I cannot thank everyone enough for their prayers,” she stated. “This has been a mother’s worst nightmare - getting that knock at your door saying your child was in a wreck and has been life-flighted. We are so thankful for the Macon County Sheriff’s Department, Sheriff Mark Gammons, the Lafayette Police Department, Air Evac, the doctors at Vanderbilt and our friend Pam Sparks at the Palace for helping us get a hospital bed at our home to make Austin comfortable. All of the employees at Sonic where Austin worked and his football teammates and coach. And everyone else who has been there for us - thank you! The way he’s made it where he is today, was God’s work - there’s no doubt about that.”