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Penn State Soccer Player Brett Gravatt Seriously Injured In Snowboarding Accident

by and on January 14, 2015 12:35 PM

Penn State soccer player Brett Gravatt is recovering after suffering a serious spinal cord injury.

The sophomore defender fractured his #6 Thoracic vertebrate on Dec. 26 in a snowboarding accident according to an update by his mother Lora. Gravatt underwent emergency back surgery to stabilize the fracture that night, requiring two rods and eight screws. A native of Virginia, Gravatt was transferred from Charlottesville to the Shepherd Center in Atlanta, Ga., which focuses on spinal cord injuries.

Gravatt's now beginning to try and regain the use of his lower body.

According to an email from Brett’s mother, every aspect of Gravatt’s life has to be relearned from dressing and bathing to daily living and mobility. The family home will need to undergo renovations, including a ramp and a first floor bedroom and bathroom, to improve accessibility for Gravatt. Specialized equipment and resources will be necessary such as wheelchairs, ramps, modified bathrooms, and a car with hand controls will be necessary to assist Brett in his daily living. The family has set up a website ( for donations to help cover the cost. Since Gravatt’s mother is a Baptist pastor the family also set up a Sign Up Genius page for prayers for Brett.

Since the injury, coaches, teammates, friends and family have flocked to the various facilities where Gravatt has been housed to show their love and support, according to a news release from Penn State Athletics.

“Accidents can happen to any of us and I have told our players, what if it was you? What would you want your teammates to do,” says head soccer coach Bob Warming. “‘One Team’ is a motto of our athletic department and as I have told people before, the ‘One Team’ theme really means that we are all in this life together, to help each other, to be there when others need us, to support each other, to work together to make things better. It is our challenge and call to action to do this on a daily basis. In this instance, how can we help make things better for Brett?”

Gravatt, an Akron transfer, played in 11 of Penn State’s matches this past season, starting in three. The sophomore scored the game-winning goal for the Nittany Lions’ in their first round win over Hartwick in the NCAA Tournament.


Gravatt has already seen an outpouring of support on his Twitter page, even tweeting out a picture of himself in a hospital room. 

“The process of rehab includes learning how to live life differently,” Lora Gravatt says. “His athleticism and drive that got him to Penn State to begin with is going to be the same drive that gets him back on campus and among his teammates as soon as humanly possible.”

This post was originally published by the staff at Onward State. Follow Onward State on Twitter @OnwardState.

Ted Hozza writes for Onward State. He's also a Penn State student majoring in Community, the Environment, and Development.
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