An Adair County High School junior is fighting for his life at the University of Louisville Hospital after suffering a traumatic brain injury and lung damage in an accident over the weekend.
Sixteen-year-old Brice Starks was injured in Edmonton in the early hours on Saturday in an accident involving a side-by-side sports vehicle.
Brice is the son of Chris and Tori Starks and is in stable condition as of Tuesday night, according to his mother, Tori. He is on a treatment called ECMO, which uses a pump to circulate blood through an artificial lung back into the bloodstream, and continues to be sedated as his body heals. He is reacting to stimulus on his limbs and is moving his head. His road to recovery will be long.
Tori describes her son as an outgoing, tenderhearted kid who loves his friends, outdoors, working on vehicles and basketball. “He loves life, he loves people and he loves Adair County,” she said.
He is extremely close to his older sister, Savannah, who unfortunately isn’t able to see Brice in the hospital right now due to restrictions because of COVID-19.
“It’s very hard. They have a very special bond and she loves her brother with all her heart,” said Starks.
Adair County High School boys basketball coach Deron Breeze said Starks is a hard worker and leader. “When he’s on the court, he’s always gives 110 percent,” said Breeze. “Since his sophomore year I made him a captain because he’s a vocal leader to his teammates.”
Like others, Breeze’s concern for Brice goes beyond the basketball court. “It’s not about basketball, I’m just hoping that he makes a recovery and is able to live a normal life. Everyone is pulling for him and we hope he gets back well.”
Brice and his family quickly garnered support from all over, especially Adair County. “Our hearts are so full with all of the love and support that everyone has given us, it is truly overwhelming,” said Tori. “Chris, Savannah and I will be forever grateful to our community of Adair County, to surrounding counties, all our families, Lindsey Wilson College and friends around the globe. We know he’s a social kid, but we didn’t truly understand how many lives he has touched.”
Starks specifically thanked several people in the community who have helped them tremendously.
Rhonda Loy held a tee shirt fundraiser for the family with shirts that say “#StarksStrong.”
Amy Keys and Traci Pooler, on behalf of the Adair County boys basketball team, organized an account for donations to be made for Brice and his family. Donations to the account can be made payable to Brice Starks Donation Account, dropped of at any United Citizens Bank location or mailed to 402 Merchant St., Columbia.
A support group formed “Starks Tribe” and set up a gofundme account for the family. Donations can be made there by visiting www.gofundme.com and searching “Starks Strong.”
Brice’s friends created a compilation video of well wishes for him and have sent videos, texts and anything else of Brice they have so his mother can play or read them to Brice, and she says they are helping.
“We want everyone to hear that what they are doing is impacting Brice directly,” said Starks.
The first person the family plans to reach out to eventually is Wynonna Copas, the woman who was first on the scene of the accident. “Had she not heard the wreck and called 911, we wouldn’t be here today. We will never be able to repay her for what she did,” said Starks.
The family asks for continued prayers for Brice and they believe wholeheartedly that they are working.
Starks was injured after a 2015 Polaris Razor he was the passenger in dropped off the shoulder of KY Hwy. 544, lost control, struck a tree and overturned several times. Brice and the driver, 18-year-old Braxton Coomer, were not wearing helmets or seatbelts. Coomer was arrested and charged with DUI 1st offense, less than 21 years of age, and was lodged in the Barren County Jail.
By Anna Buckman