Ryley Williams- An Inspirational Road To Recovery

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On July 8, Bentonville sophomore Ryley Williams collapsed at football practice and had multiple strokes. He suffered from endocarditis. Vegetation built up in his heart valves and caused severe blood clots in his brain.

Now, his brain has to start all over learning every basic motor skill. He lay in a hospital for six weeks. That one summer day changed his life forever.

“I remember my friends all around me,” said Williams. “They kept saying ‘it’s going to be fine.’ It was all a flash and then I don’t remember anything.”

Williams had emergency surgery, removing a piece of his skull to relieve the pressure. Afterward, he was motionless in a hospital bed, not even able to talk to his family
“Helpless,” said his mother Terri Rose. “There were several times where I don’t remember feeling anything.”

“You just step back and go ‘wow, to a 15 year old boy’? I thought I was going to lose my son,” said his father Damon Williams.

For two weeks Williams didn’t get any better. Then one day, he surrendered his fate to a higher power.

“It was just God saying ‘it’s going to be alright,’” said Williams.

“Every little thing he could do that reclaimed him was so uplifting for the rest of us,” said Rose.

Three weeks after surgery, Williams took his first steps in the hospital.

Williams’ passion has always been football. He won’t be able to play again, but he`s found a new calling. Williams is a student trainer for Bentonville athletics. Now, he wants to make it a career.

“He has hit the ground running,” said Rose. “I have not seen him this happy in months.”

“Being a football player for our team and being a Bentonville Tiger meant the world to him,” said Bentonville assistant football coach Jody Grant. “It was important to us to give him an opportunity to still be a part of our program.”

“He knows that this is a way to be involved for the rest of his live,” said Bentonville head trainer Jeff McGee.

15-year-old boys take life for granted. They ride their bike. They play video games. One day Williams will be able to do all those things.

“I pray every day for the life I have today,” said Williams.

“I tell him all the time how amazing he is and he looks at me and says ‘mom I’m just being me,'” said Rose.

“He’ll draw from this experience,” said Damon Williams. “One day he’ll sit in front of some kids and say ‘the guy you see before you went through a lot to get here.’”

The road to recovery is long, and there`s a lot difficulty ahead. But every person Williams comes across, he touches their life in some way.

“Honestly, I’m just so happy he’s alive that even if he’s never 100 percent I’m OK with it,” said Rose. “But I do see a lot of Ryley coming back.”

On Wednesday morning Williams had one final surgery to replace the piece of skull taken out in July. His mother told 5NEWS the surgery was successful and Williams is recovering comfortably.


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