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Vanderbilt retires No. 1 jersey to support young fan fighting for his life

Graham Watson
Dr. Saturday
Vanderbilt hires Stanford DC Derek Mason as coach

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Stanford's defensive coordinator Derek Mason talks during a news conference in Los Angeles on Thursday Dec. 27, 2012. Stanford is scheduled to play Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl NCAA college football game in Pasadena, Calif., on New Year's Day. (AP Photo/Nick Ut)

Vanderbilt coach Derek Mason has only been on campus a few months, but he’s already making all the right decisions.

On Wednesday, one of those decisions included retiring the No. 1 jersey for the season, so it could be entrusted to the Commodores No. 1 fan, Michael Sloan.

Michael, a 6-year-old, is currently fighting for his life at Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital after being found at the bottom of a pool last Friday.

Mason presented the jersey to the family on Wednesday and told Michael’s parents no one would wear that jersey number this year.

Doctors told Michael’s family that the 6-year-old had suffered brain damage and as of Tuesday, he had not regained consciousness; doctors were not optimistic about his recovery.

However, on Wednesday, Michael started showing signs of improvement and his breathing tube was removed. Michael’s father, PJ Sloan, has been steadily posting updates on his Facebook page and posted this update Wednesday night:

Today has been an incredible day. The breathing tube is out and he is breathing on his own! This is progress. There is still lots of room to go though. The support we have gotten over the last few days has been amazing. I know that he appreciates them. We have heard from people all over the world at this point. He has had some of his idols make contact with us. When he sees how many people are taking time from their day to think about him, pray for him, or send him a message he will be floored.
I hope everyone understands that I am trying to respond to every message I get. I read all of them, but I can't always respond. I plan on showing everything to him when we get though this.

The family is encouraging those who wish to send them notes on social media to use the hashtag #PrayForMichael.

Thanks to College Football Talk

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Graham Watson is the editor of Dr. Saturday on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email her at dr.saturday@ymail.com or follow her on Twitter!

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