PITTSBURGH — A local high school quarterback who suffered a brain bleed just celebrated a milestone birthday in the hospital. Mason Martin spent the last month at UPMC Children’s Hospital for rehab.
As Mason continues to recover, the community continues to rally around him. His hospital room is filled to the brim with birthday cards, balloons and gifts.
“There’s a stack, probably that thick in there,” said Mason’s father, Denny Martin. “It’s going to probably take me a week or two to get through them all.”
More cards are still coming in for the Karns City quarterback, who turned 18 on Saturday.
“It’s been pretty amazing for sure,” Martin said.
“He might not be able to fully smile yet, but you can see in someone’s face when they’re happy, and when you’re reading to him and I’m showing him the cards, you can see it kind of makes him happy for sure,” said Martin.
The support has been uplifting for the senior, who celebrated his birthday without his mom. She died in October after a long battle with cancer.
“When I told him, he teared up and he cried,” Martin said. “It was the first time he showed any emotion since the injury.”
Martin has been by his son’s bedside every day since Mason collapsed during one of his football games in September. He stepped away to briefly speak with Channel 11 outside Children’s Hospital on Monday.
It’s now been five months after Mason’s brain injury and his father tells us he’s getting stronger.
“He’s doing a lot of firsts that he hasn’t done since the injury,” he said.
The same morning Martin spoke with Channel 11, he said Mason drank apple juice from a cup. Over the last several days, he’s been able to turn his head, eat more, and walk with help.
“Those kinds of moments kind of take your breath away,” said Martin. “He just doesn’t have the strength, coordination, or balance to hold himself up yet.”
Mason, however, is still not able to talk yet.
“He’ll start vocalizing and making that noise and you can almost encourage him and shape that into tones and pitches to where he might be sounding like he’s saying hi,” said Martin.
Though Martin said rehab has been challenging and frustrating at times, he’s hopeful his son will make a full recovery.
“It’s kind of hard to sit there and watch your child not be able to respond to commands,” said Martin. “Then, all of a sudden he hits one and you’re like, ‘That’s great.’”
Martin told Channel 11 his son is scheduled to go home in April. While he’s praying for that day, he wants to make sure Mason leaves when he’s ready.
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