PRINCETON – Brandon Blackwood, seriously injured in a wreck in December, returned home from the hospital Saturday to the applause of family and friends waiting along the courthouse square in Princeton.
His football coach, Nick Beloat, organized the welcoming celebration.
Beloat visited Blackwood in the intensive care unit multiple times, recalled Blackwood's father, Chris Blackwood.
"He doesn't have to do all the stuff he does," said Blackwood, "he really does care about all those kids."
Beloat took to Facebook over the weekend to orchestrate the welcoming party for Blackwood, keeping his friends abreast of the Blackwood family's arrival time back in Princeton.
Brandon Blackwood sustained multiple injuries last December, and has been recovering with family by his side. His injuries left him in a coma, with multiple broken bones and brain injuries.
"We're happy with where he's at," said Chris Blackwood. Brandon can't walk or talk, but he can move his left arm and recognizes when people are around. "He can't talk yet, but it's coming, I know it's coming." he said.
Chris Blackwood said his son put his arm around his neck and gave him some reassuring pats.
"He is doing a small bit of communication," Blackwood said. It may be a small amount, but it was more than enough to bring tears to his eyes, Blackwood said.
While he is home, Brandon has a bunch of medical appointments ahead of him. "It takes a long time to recover from something like this," said his dad.
With a traumatic brain injury like Brandon's, the road to recovery is unpredictable, according to Blackwood. "You never know what's going to happen next," he said.
As for Brandon's friend Kaden McKannan, Blackwood said he is recovering as well and also has a long road ahead. "Kaden is our buddy," he said. The two teens played football and baseball together. Blackwood said he maintains regular contact with McKannan's parents.
"I can't wait to see them together again," he said.
Chris Blackwood said he wants the community to continue to wish his family and the family of Kaden McKannan well.
"That's the main thing I want to stress, is keep praying for these boys," Blackwood said.