Parents: 'Recovery will be a marathon' for teen injured in Super Bowl Sunday crash

19-year-old Braeden Sconce is in an intensive care unit recovering from injuries sustained in a crash. (Facebook/Shelly Sconce).

When Shelly Sconce first heard about what happened to her son, she said she dropped to the floor and prayed.

"I lost the ability to stand," Shelly said. "My mother in law curled in and prayed with me, it was an unspeakable moment."

As of Tuesday night, 19-year-old Braeden Sconce was still in an intensive care unit at Barnes Jewish Hospital, battling a traumatic brain injury. Tuesday night marked Braeden's tenth night at the hospital, recovering from injuries sustained in a crash February 4. He was on his way home to Holts Summit from Springfield to watch the Super Bowl with his family.

"Each day we look for some small victory," Braeden's father, Wes, said. "We try not to get discouraged by some of the setbacks."

The Crash

Braeden Sconce had spent the weekend visiting friends in Springfield before making his way to Holts Summit for the Super Bowl. "He was on his way to watch his beloved Eagles play," Wes said.

Wes said Braeden last texted him at 1:48 p.m. letting him know he was about 20 minutes outside of Lebanon. Wes said he thought he would likely be home between 3:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. with some of the issues the weather had posed in the area.

"About the time he should've been home, I texted him, but he didn't answer, I called him three times, didn't answer, didn't get responses, but by then it was about an hour, hour and a half after he should've been home," Wes said. "He's typically a really responsible kid, he's not going to leave us hanging like that," he said.

"I'm hatching a plan in my head on how to proceed to try to locate him when a Sheriff's deputy pulled up in our driveway," Wes said. "And I remember saying 'oh this isn't good,' and it was worse. It was worse than I was expecting,"

Braeden's parents later learned the crash had happened at around 2:30 p.m. on Highway 5 just outside of Lebanon.

The Heroes

Wes said after speaking with the deputy he then got in touch with an emergency room physician at the hospital in Lebanon.

"She started by saying he had been pulled from a burning car, and that concerned me greatly," Wes said.

Wes and Shelly were told by witnesses that as Braeden's car burned, nearby cars carrying a volunteer fireman, a nurse, and another man pulled over to take action.

"We count that as a blessing, that though his injuries are severe, it's better than the alternative," Wes said.

"I just thank them from the bottom of my heart as a mom," Shelly said. "I wonder if I was there, could I have really helped? Because Braeden's a big guy, I mean he was the Center of the football team," she said.

"They got him to the front of the car to then hear things exploding in the car, and then they had to move him one more time," Shelly said. One of the men's wives who is a nurse came running to help. Shelly said each person took turns giving Braeden CPR.

"They're just wonderfully humble people that believe that, and hope, that if they were in that circumstance someone would do that for them," Shelly said.

The volunteer fireman's son plays the same position on his youth football team as Braeden did in high school.

"I told him 'I look forward to the day I get to bring Braeden down there, to meet you and to meet your son," Shelly said.

Shelly and Wes also expressed gratitude toward the nurse at the Lebanon hospital. "She said she talked to Braeden like he was her son, doing everything to try to ease his fears, and just prayed over him constantly while in the E.R." Shelly said. "She said people probably thought she was crazy."

The Injury

Wes, who serves as a manager of support services at the Missouri Orthopaedic Institute, has a healthcare background spanning over decades. "The wheels were already turning," he said.

Wes said the doctor told him about each of Braeden's injuries, including a spleen rupture, rib fractures, and possible burns. "Each of these I'm checking off, 'he can survive that, he can survive that'," Wes said, until the doctor mentioned CPR had to be performed on him at the scene. "People in that condition have a pretty low survival rate," said Wes. He said each bit of information was like a punch.

"But then the head injury knocked me down a little bit," Wes said. "It's a game changer in terms of recovery, there's a lot of uncertainty," he said.

Braeden's parents said he's in stable condition and improving slightly.

"You rub his forehead and he kind of pulls away, which seems a little purposeful," said Wes. "You couldn't just tell him to move his head to one side, you couldn't get him to squeeze your hand if you asked him to, he has a little bit of a twitch on his left hand" Wes said.

Braeden's parents said some of his activity has to do with who is in the room. When his South Callaway high school football coaches, Zack Hess and Tim Rulo, visited the hospital he had changes in his level of activity, Wes said.

"You see his breathing pick up, his heart-rate picks up, it's part of the evidence that he's perceiving things around him," said Wes. "It's partly our hopefulness,"

Wes and Shelly plan to stay at Barnes Jewish Hospital indefinitely as their son recovers. They said they have not yet reached a point to talk about a long term care facility.

The Super Bowl

Shelly said for Christmas, Braeden got an Eagles jersey.

"He's a huge [Zach] Ertz fan," Shelly said. She said his jersey was in Braeden's car the day of the accident.

Shelly said Braeden has several cousins who are Chiefs fans. One of them, months ago, proclaimed the Chiefs were going to the Super Bowl.

"Braeden said as matter-of-fact as he could be 'the Eagles will be in the Super Bowl," Shelly said.

"He was coming home to celebrate," Shelly said. "We recorded it, we have it DVR'ed, but we have decided we're not going to watch it until we watch it with Braeden."

The Support

The Facebook page created to support Braeden now has thousands of members.

"What I didn't anticipate was the amount of support the community is offering," said Wes.

The page serves as a platform where supporters post ideas, videos, photos, and funny or sweet stories about Braeden. One photo shows Braeden essentially shirtless wearing a women's vest.

The Snapchat caption reads "This is what a real man looks like."

Another photo posted to the page shows the South Callaway High School girls basketball team highfiving a photo-copied picture of Braeden's hand. His parents said Braeden had the photo placed in the girls lockerroom while he was a manager of the team his senior year, so that players could remotely high-five him.

"He's just out there," said Wes. "He's uncharacteristally affectionate and loving and caring for a 19-year-old."

Supporters have created Eagles-themed t-shirts and wristbands to support the Sconces. Both have Galatians 6:9 printed on them, the bible verse which reads "Let us not become weary in doing good." It's also Braeden's only tattoo.

Shelly and Wes said they are so grateful for all the prayer and support.

"We genuinely feel it," Wes said. "I want everyone to be a part of a big victory like that. It's what this community of support deserves."

"It occurred to me, if God can knit it together in the first place, surely he can fix it," Wes said.

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