Stories about professional and top collegiate athletes inspiring the injured or suffering are not altogether uncommon. Yet its a rare occurrence when prep athletes inspire fellow teens to recoveries.
That has been the precise case unfolding in New Mexico, where injured teen Tripp Gleghorn -- who suffered second and third-degree burns across his body after a fire accident -- has been inundated with personal, written, spoken and gifted responses from top prep prospects from across the Land of Enchantment.
"Tripp is a huge prep football fan and what really boosted his spirits was the fact that players going from high school to college to play football showed him some love," Charles Gleghorn, Trip Gleghorn's father told NMPreps.com. "[Tripp Gleghorn] has some recovery time ahead of him, needs to grow all the hair back that was burnt off, but he should be back to normal and playing sports soon. We are just so thankful to everyone from around the state that helped us during this tough time."
Tripp Gleghorn's long road ahead began less than two weeks ago, when he was performing chores around the family farm outside Hatch, N.M. At the end of his daily routine, the young Gleghorn went to burn excess shrubs and weeds in a traditional, controlled farm burn.
"[Tripp] had second degree burns on his right hand and on his face," the elder Gleghorn told NMPreps.com. "On his left shoulder and left arm he had third degree burns. It was pretty bad, but Tripp was tough through the whole thing."
Amazingly, administrative indifference delayed the treatment that Tripp Gleghorn badly needed at his first hospital stop, leading his father and mother to speed on to the larger Las Cruces Hospital nearby. Luckily, that move paved the way for immediate reaction from paramedics and, shortly thereafter, transport to the Lubbock (Texas) Burn Center, where Tripp Gleghorn was treated for a full week, with frequent bandage changes and skin grafts used to replace a number of burns on his body.
"He was burned pretty bad, so his mom and I jumped into the truck and headed to the local hospital. I felt like they were taking too much time having us sign unnecessary paper work before even treating him, so I decided to just drive the 40-miles to Las Cruces.
"I was going over 100 MPH with the flashers on when a State Police pulled us over. I explained to him that my son needed urgent care asap for his burns and he led the way and took us straight to the Las Cruces Hospital."
Despite the trying incident, the eighth grader remained patient, and became quickly excited and enthusiastic when well wishes from local prep sports celebrities began rushing in. NMPreps reported that Raton (N.M.) High star quarterback Dustin Walton, a grayshirt recruit who was used in a town's anti-alcohol billboard campaign earlier this year, sent Gleghorn a signed hat (pictured above), fellow New Mexico recruit Tim Foley called Tripp and encouraged him to remain tough in his recovery and Clovis (N.M.) High players sent in get well cards.
Perhaps most impressively, members of the reigning New Mexico Class 5A state champion Mayfield High football program drove to see Gleghorn at his house as soon as he was released from the burn center, brining a signed picture of their team hoisting the state title trophy earlier this year.
When combined with loads of happy wishes sent the teen's way on NMPreps message boards, Gleghorn's father said there was little doubt that prep sports has already played a significant role in the early stages of the 15-year-old's long recovery.
"Tripp's spirits were good and he was even more excited when he found out how many fans on NMPreps.com were wishing him well," Charles Gleghorn told NMPreps. "We received a ton of support from Raton, to Albuquerque, to Socorro, to Clovis, to Roswell, Artesia, to Las Cruces. It was amazing how many people sent well wishes.
"It brought a smile to his face everyday we were in the hospital when we would check the message boards to see how many views a non related prep football topic had. When the thread went over 1,000 views, he just had this big smile on his face."