CHARLOTTE — Scotland High quarterback Jaylend Ratliffe is in serious condition following a Tuesday ATV crash, sources said Wednesday.
The rising senior has been taken off a ventilator and is talking and responsive.
Ratliffe, who reportedly suffered head injuries when the ATV overturned, was airlifted to Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte. Sources close to the family said Ratliffe was still in a lot of pain as doctors decreased his medication to assess the extent of his injuries.
An MRI scan performed on Ratliffe early Wednesday morning did not show any spinal column damage. According to a source, doctors are hoping to remove Ratliffe’s neck brace and have him sitting up in bed.
Ratliffe’s grandmother, Annie McIntyre, said Wednesday morning that the family has been overwhelmed by the outpouring of support from the community.
Teachers and students have driven to the Charlotte hospital to see the injured Georgia Tech commit, as well as his teammates, some of whom spent the night in Charlotte along with coach Richard Bailey.
“… When something happens to one of our brothers or our sisters or our children, this is when we look to Christ and ask him for help but we also ask everyone to keep him in our prayers,” McIntyre said. “We can only wait for the Lord to bring him out of this if it is his will, and I believe that the Lord is going to bring him out … even if he never throws another football, if he can just have his body, with Christ in his soul and can still love people and communicate with them like he does.”
According to sources, Ratliffe and teammate Dakota Holland were riding together though a wooded area near Ratliffe’s home Tuesday afternoon when the ATV overturned. It is believed it was Holland’s ATV and Ratliffe was driving. Both were conscious and alert on the scene.
Holland was treated and released the same day from Scotland Memorial Hospital. According to a source close to the situation, Holland later returned for a check-up.
McIntyre is asking the community to keep Holland in their prayers.
“Please don’t forget about him,” she said. “Don’t let today and tomorrow fade him out of your mind. Keep him in prayer.”
Ratliffe led Scotland to two of its three consecutive Southeastern Conference championships.
Bailey still plans on holding the first official practice of the year Friday.
Officials from Georgia Tech have already visited Ratliffe in the hospital, sources say.
Two Southeastern Conference coaches have expressed their concern. Purnell Swett coach Mark Heil said he’s never met Ratliffe, but his reputation as a “first-class gentleman” precedes him.
“My stomach turns for the kid,” Heil said. “He’s a great, great quarterback but he’s an extremely fine young man too.”
Heil said the coaches and players had a team prayer for Ratliffe on Wednesday. Lumberton coach Mike Setzer hasn’t addressed the accident with his team yet, but said he plans to.
“You never want to hear about anybody else’s players getting hurt,” Setzer said. “I pray that he has a fast and safe recovery and we’ll keep his family in our prayers.”
Logan Martinez can be reached at 910-506-3170 and follow him on Twitter @L_Martinez13. Abbi Overfelt and Scott Schlaufman contributed to this story.