Austin Elder, the Fort Smith teen who fell 100 feet from Hawksbill Crag, is showing signs of improvement following surgery on Sunday to relieve pressure of the swelling in his head, according to his mother, Gina Rogers.
“He has turned around today, and he’s holding his own,” said Rogers. “He’s overcome a lot of hurdles. He’s still very critical, but he’s holding his own.”
In addition to the brain swelling, Elder is also suffering from a collapsed lung, a broken pelvis and internal bruising. He is currently in a coma.
“We’ve had to make a lot of tough decisions,” said Tina Bare, Elder’s aunt. “We keep getting bad reports and then good reports. We’ve been on a roller coaster.”
Elder’s family said the outpouring of support on the Facebook page “Prayers for Austin Elder,” has helped them through this difficult time.
"The outpouring has been amazing from our community,” said Rogers. “It's been overwhelming, and that gives us the strength to get through these times knowing that our friends and people we don't even know are praying for our son who is fighting for his life."
Elder’s father, Danny Elder, said despite his son’s small stature, he played football at South Side High School and was all-conference his senior year.
“He’s tough, and for a little guy, he packs a hard, tough punch,” said Danny. “He has always been a fighter.”
The 19-year-old Elder recently finished his first semester at the University of Arkansas at Fort Smith.
A bank account has been set up at Arvest bank to help the family with medical costs. Anyone interested in helping can stop by any Arvest branch and make a deposit into the "Arvest Cares Austin Elder Medical Account."