Just eight months after a wreck that threatened to take his life and put his football career at the back of his mind, Ellwood Christian’s Rayford Mitchell looks as if he has never had a scratch on him. He is prepared to take on a leadership role this season for the Eagles as the starting running back. --Daniel Evans
Just eight months after a wreck that threatened to take his life and put his football career at the back of his mind, Ellwood Christian’s Rayford Mitchell looks as if he has never had a scratch on him. He is prepared to take on a leadership role this season for the Eagles as the starting running back. -- Daniel Evans

Eagles’ Mitchell says violent wreck changed his life

Published 5:41pm Monday, August 12, 2013

Ellwood Christian sophomore running back Rayford Mitchell appears to have a bright career ahead of him. Entering his sophomore season, many in the area — including Ellwood Christian headmaster the Rev. Gary Crum — believe he could play football at a high level in college.

But Dec. 28, 2012, it almost all disappeared for Mitchell.

On his way to grab his basketball equipment before a game, Mitchell’s car hit a slick spot on the road and hydroplaned into a telephone pole, resulting in it flipping five times. Mitchell broke his collarbone, had a concussion, three cracked ribs, cracked bones in his back, a punctured left lung, and broken bones in one of his arms.

His mother, Dorene Mitchell, was told to prepare for the worst.

“The doctor came to me and said ‘I’m just going to be honest with you. I don’t know. We can’t stop the bleeding,’” Dorene said. “He had to have a transfusion and he was on a ventilator. He was in pretty bad shape.”

Even when her son’s condition started to improve, Mitchell was asked to pack for six months and she did, only to watch her son leave the hospital an incredible nine days later.

“Everything just started turning around. He had so many people coming in and out praying,” Dorene said. “We had so much support. I know the prayers are what helped heal him.”

In February, less than two months after the accident, he was cleared to return to athletics. He took part in baseball season and is now prepared for football season.

In his first game on the baseball field following the accident, Rayford hit a homerun.

“I’m looking for him to do some great things. I’m just excited about where is headed,” Crum said. “I call him all the time our Miracle Child, because he had a scare there.”

Rayford, who models his game after Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson, believes he is capable of playing college football, one of the reasons he prefers football over every other sport.

“I can show my talent better in football and I think I have a better chance of going somewhere in football,” Rayford said.

Looking at him today, it is impossible to tell he was in a life threatening situation just six months ago. He is healthy, with no limitations on his playing time. He has to wear a shoulder brace now, but that seems like a small price to pay to be able to play sports again.

After a brief recovery period where he admits he made a few bad choices, he said the life threatening experience has strengthened his faith.

 

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