Warsaw, NY (Courtesy WHAM-Rochester)
On August 31st Aaron Paddock, 14, was struck on the head by a tree limb that fell from more than fifty feet. At the time Paddock and was in his backyard working with his family on a home improvement project. He was flown to Buffalo Children’s Hospital where he’s spent much of the last two weeks in a medically induced coma according to friends and family.
Just this week there are signs he’s recovering. On Thursday his family reports Paddock muttered his first words - “your breath stinks” – to a loved one who was leaning into him close. Small movements in his hands are big steps forward as he remained partially paralyzed until only recently. Numerous surgeries have resulted in the temporary removal of a portion of Paddock’s skull to relieve pressure brought on from swelling in his brain.
While his family keeps a round-the-clock vigil Paddock’s teammates, coaches, friends, and classmates are doing their part too.
"I held his hand and it made me kind of start to cry because he's a really good kid,” Warsaw senior Hanna Grisewood a wrestling teammate and friend said of her recent visit to see Paddock. “It sucks that bad things happen to good people."
"He's a strong kid and there is nothing that is going to take that away from him," Austin Keough, a junior on the Warsaw wrestling team said of his friend. "Yeah Aaron is in really bad shape but the community is behind him, we're behind him, we love Aaron and he's going to come back better than ever."
Paddock Won Super Sectionals as a 7th Grader The Paddock Family name is big in Warsaw and in the tight-knit wrestling community that extends beyond Wyoming County’s borders. Aaron is one of eight siblings and the youngest of five brothers. The family’s success on the mat is measured in state medals, trophies, and literally hundreds of wins per sibling.
Aaron Paddock is no exception and perhaps the best of the bunch in this family. As a 7th grader on varsity he amassed more than 40 wins against some athletes who were four years older than him. He ended the years as the first Warsaw 7th grader to win a state medal when he placed 6th at the New York State Championships. Entering his 8th grade year his goal was to win a state championship and move one step closer to his brother Ian who won four state titles.
"Fighter's fight and Aaron is a fighter," Warsaw Wrestling Coach Robert Hirsch said of a youngster who is now beginning the fight of his life. "Aaron's got one match to win, his father told me Aaron's got one match to win this year and we're going to win it."
"Brad leaned over and he put his hand on his heart and he whispered in his ear,” Coach Hirsch said. “He said 'Noble, the doctors don't think you can move your left side, I know you can, can you do me a favor and prove them wrong?' and (then) Aaron jerked the left side of his hand."
While Paddock’s recovery is sure to be a long and difficult one the Warsaw community will be there every step of the way. The football team won its first game in honor of Paddock and the volleyball team is wearing blue shoelaces on their left sneakers; light blue is Aaron’s favorite color and his left side is the one he is struggling to rehab.
You can track Aaron’s recovery on CaringBridge.org by searching his name.