Bear Hug

Football Player Kolton May has Serious Complications After Surgery

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Bear Hug

photo provided by Eleanor Stransom

photo provided by Eleanor Stransom

photo provided by Eleanor Stransom

photo provided by Eleanor Stransom

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To read a more recent update on Kolton’s health, click here:


The football boys drip with sweat as they run across the field determinedly, their bones aching yet their spirits motivated. The student section roars with excitement, the stands a blur of fan shirts and face paint and spilled popcorn. Bright lights illuminate the field and reveal the faces of the ones providing the hour’s entertainment. But this is not just another Friday night game. A star player is out tonight, and his absence can be felt throughout the entire stadium.

After dislocating his shoulder during practice, Kolton May (11) was taken to the hospital for a simple surgery when things took an unexpected turn. His speech, motor skills, and comprehension were inexplicably impaired after he woke up, and his doctors are struggling to figure out why. Many tests were performed to see what caused such a drastic change in his health, but no new progress has been made. Saying his family and friends are confused and distraught would be an understatement.

“The day I found out it was pretty hard,” Lainey Bartlett (12) said. “I just basically sat in the bathroom all day and cried.”

Originally the doctors assumed May had a stroke, but with his symptoms, it is hard to confirm anything. Although the entire situation is difficult to deal with, the biggest struggle for May’s girlfriend Eleanor Stransom (11) is the unsolved questions they are currently facing.

“No one knows what’s going on with him,” Stransom said. “We’ve tested his brain waves, arteries, vesicle blood, rip arteries, and head. He’s had two echocardiograms to see if he has holes in his heart. All of his tests came back completely fine, but he’s not fine.”

The peers and coaches of May are finding it hard to adjust to an everyday routine that he is not a part of.

“He brought a lot of energy and fun to the team, and I really miss him,” football coach Tim Bridges said.

Although he is improving, those close to him will not feel peace of mind until he is fully recovered. The stress of unsolved answers weighs heavily on his family and friends.

“I’m finding it really hard to sleep,” Stransom said. “I’m up there every day, because the nurses ask me to be and his family wants me there. I’ll just sit in a classroom and that’s all I can think about.”

After his friends visit May in the hospital, they feel encouraged and elated. Unsurprisingly, they are not the only ones who benefit from these regular drop-ins.

“He gets really happy,” Bartlett said. “With his memory problems, he forgets who has seen him day to day. Every time he sees someone, he thinks it’s the first time in a while.”

The support from his loved ones pushes May to try his hardest to improve.

“Whenever we’re in physical therapy with him, if he sees any of his friends or if he sees me, then it’s the extra motivation to do something,” Stransom said. “It really lifts his spirits because he’s gone from being this really athletic person to being in a hospital bed 24/7 for the past thirteen days.”

Even after days of discomfort and uncertainty, May is still finding a way to look at life from a positive perspective.

“He was in good spirits,” Bridges said after visiting May in the hospital. “He was laughing and saying some words.”

No one ever sees catastrophes like these coming. This event has reminded May’s loved ones how precious time is and to never take anything for granted.

“It was just insane how fast everything moved and how unexpected everything was,” Stransom said. “Two Thursdays ago, he was just going for arm sutures, and the next second it’s all this. Things change so fast.”