FOOTBALL: Injured Highlander Football Player\'s Father Grateful For Support

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Image 1 of 19 Tyler Matheny purchases a t-shirt to raise money for Grant Milton, a varsity football player at The Woodlands High School, at Chick-fil-A at the Alden Bridge Village Shopping Center Wednesday in The Woodlands. Tyler Matheny purchases a t-shirt to raise money for Grant Milton, a varsity football player at The Woodlands High School, at Chick-fil-A at the Alden Bridge Village Shopping Center Wednesday in The Woodlands. Photo: Jason Fochtman, Staff Photographer Image 2 of 19 Matt Mills walks toward his car after purchasing a t-shirt in support of Grant Milton, a varsity football player at The Woodlands High School, Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2016, in The Woodlands. Milton, a senior linebacker for the Highlanders, suffered a serious head injury during the team's Nov. 26 win over Austin Bowie in a UIL Class 6A Division I regional semifinal playoff game at Baylor's McLane Stadium. He was taken to a local hospital to have emergency surgery. Patrons to the restaurant could buy t-shirts in support of Milton, which went toward the family’s GoFundMe account. In addition, 20 percent of the restaurant’s sales between 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. also went to support the family. less Matt Mills walks toward his car after purchasing a t-shirt in support of Grant Milton, a varsity football player at The Woodlands High School, Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2016, in The Woodlands. Milton, a senior ... more Photo: Jason Fochtman, Staff Photographer Image 3 of 19

Zachary Loane and Dylan Casey, varsity football players with The Woodlands High School, court t-shirts for an order outside Chick-Fil-A at the Alden Bridge Village Shopping Center Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2016, in The Woodlands. Parents with the football team organized a t-shirt drive to raise money for Grant Milton, a senior linebacker for the Highlanders, who suffered a serious head injury during the team's Nov. 26 win over Austin Bowie in a UIL Class 6A Division I regional semifinal playoff game at Baylor's McLane Stadium. He was taken to a local hospital to have emergency surgery. Patrons to the restaurant could buy t-shirts in support of Milton, which went toward the family’s GoFundMe account. In addition, 20 percent of the restaurant’s sales between 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. also went to support the family.

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Zachary Loane and Dylan Casey, varsity football players with The Woodlands High School, court t-shirts for an order outside Chick-Fil-A at the Alden Bridge Village Shopping Center Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2016, in

... more Photo: Jason Fochtman/Houston Chronicle Image 4 of 19 Anthony La Canfora helps organize t-shirts during a fundraiser for Grant Milton, a varsity football player at The Woodlands High School, at Chick-Fil-A at the Alden Bridge Village Shopping Center Wednesday in The Woodlands. less Anthony La Canfora helps organize t-shirts during a fundraiser for Grant Milton, a varsity football player at The Woodlands High School, at Chick-Fil-A at the Alden Bridge Village Shopping Center Wednesday in ... more Photo: Jason Fochtman, Staff Photographer Image 5 of 19 David Loane tosses a t-shirt for an order at Chick-Fil-A at the Alden Bridge Village Shopping Center to raise money for Grant Milton. , a varsity football player at The Woodlands High School, Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2016, in The Woodlands. Milton, a senior linebacker for the Highlanders, suffered a serious head injury during the team's Nov. 26 win over Austin Bowie in a UIL Class 6A Division I regional semifinal playoff game at Baylor's McLane Stadium. He was taken to a local hospital to have emergency surgery. Patrons to the restaurant could buy t-shirts in support of Milton, which went toward the family's GoFundMe account. In addition, 20 percent of the restaurant's sales between 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. also went to support the family. less David Loane tosses a t-shirt for an order at Chick-Fil-A at the Alden Bridge Village Shopping Center to raise money for Grant Milton. , a varsity football player at The Woodlands High School, Wednesday, Nov. ... more Photo: Jason Fochtman, Staff Photographer Image 6 of 19 Community members leave Chick-Fil-A at the Alden Bridge Village Shopping Center during a fundraiser for Grant Milton, a varsity football players at The Woodlands High School, Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2016, in The Woodlands. Milton, a senior linebacker for the Highlanders, suffered a serious head injury during the team's Nov. 26 win over Austin Bowie in a UIL Class 6A Division I regional semifinal playoff game at Baylor's McLane Stadium. He was taken to a local hospital to have emergency surgery. Patrons to the restaurant could buy t-shirts in support of Milton, which went toward the family’s GoFundMe account. In addition, 20 percent of the restaurant’s sales between 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. also went to support the family. less Community members leave Chick-Fil-A at the Alden Bridge Village Shopping Center during a fundraiser for Grant Milton, a varsity football players at The Woodlands High School, Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2016, in The ... more Photo: Jason Fochtman, Staff Photographer Image 7 of 19 Parents with The Woodlands High School football team organize a t-shirt fundraiser to raise money for Grant Milton Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2016, in The Woodlands. Milton, a senior linebacker for the Highlanders, suffered a serious head injury during the team's Nov. 26 win over Austin Bowie in a UIL Class 6A Division I regional semifinal playoff game at Baylor's McLane Stadium. He was taken to a local hospital to have emergency surgery. Patrons to the restaurant could buy t-shirts in support of Milton, which went toward the familyé•s GoFundMe account. In addition, 20 percent of the restauranté•s sales between 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. also went to support the family. less Parents with The Woodlands High School football team organize a t-shirt fundraiser to raise money for Grant Milton Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2016, in The Woodlands. Milton, a senior linebacker for the Highlanders, ... more Photo: Jason Fochtman, Staff Photographer Image 8 of 19

Community members line up to purchase t-shirt to raise money for Grant Milton, a varsity football player at The Woodlands High School, at Chick-Fil-A at the Alden Bridge Village Shopping Center Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2016, in The Woodlands. Milton, a senior linebacker for the Highlanders, suffered a serious head injury during the team's Nov. 26 win over Austin Bowie in a UIL Class 6A Division I regional semifinal playoff game at Baylor's McLane Stadium. He was taken to a local hospital to have emergency surgery. Patrons to the restaurant could buy t-shirts in support of Milton, which went toward the family’s GoFundMe account. In addition, 20 percent of the restaurant’s sales between 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. also went to support the family.

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Community members line up to purchase t-shirt to raise money for Grant Milton, a varsity football player at The Woodlands High School, at Chick-Fil-A at the Alden Bridge Village Shopping Center Wednesday, Nov.

... more Photo: Jason Fochtman/Houston Chronicle Image 9 of 19

David Loane tosses a t-shirt for an order at Chick-Fil-A at the Alden Bridge Village Shopping Center to raise money for Grant Milton, a varsity football players at The Woodlands High School, Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2016, in The Woodlands. Milton, a senior linebacker for the Highlanders, suffered a serious head injury during the team's Nov. 26 win over Austin Bowie in a UIL Class 6A Division I regional semifinal playoff game at Baylor's McLane Stadium. He was taken to a local hospital to have emergency surgery. Patrons to the restaurant could buy t-shirts in support of Milton, which went toward the family’s GoFundMe account. In addition, 20 percent of the restaurant’s sales between 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. also went to support the family.

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David Loane tosses a t-shirt for an order at Chick-Fil-A at the Alden Bridge Village Shopping Center to raise money for Grant Milton, a varsity football players at The Woodlands High School, Wednesday, Nov. 30,

... more Photo: Jason Fochtman/Houston Chronicle Image 10 of 19 Chick-Fil-A employees wear t-shirts supporting Grant Milton, a varsity football players at The Woodlands High School, during a fundraiser at the Alden Bridge Village Shopping Center Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2016, in The Woodlands. Milton, a senior linebacker for the Highlanders, suffered a serious head injury during the team's Nov. 26 win over Austin Bowie in a UIL Class 6A Division I regional semifinal playoff game at Baylor's McLane Stadium. He was taken to a local hospital to have emergency surgery. Patrons to the restaurant could buy t-shirts in support of Milton, which went toward the family’s GoFundMe account. In addition, 20 percent of the restaurant’s sales between 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. also went to support the family. less Chick-Fil-A employees wear t-shirts supporting Grant Milton, a varsity football players at The Woodlands High School, during a fundraiser at the Alden Bridge Village Shopping Center Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2016, in ... more Photo: Jason Fochtman, Staff Photographer Image 11 of 19 Community members line up to purchase t-shirt to raise money for Grant Milton, a varsity football player at The Woodlands High School, at Chick-Fil-A at the Alden Bridge Village Shopping Center Wednesday. , Nov. 30, 2016, in The Woodlands. Milton, a senior linebacker for the Highlanders, suffered a serious head injury during the team's Nov. 26 win over Austin Bowie in a UIL Class 6A Division I regional semifinal playoff game at Baylor's McLane Stadium. He was taken to a local hospital to have emergency surgery. Patrons to the restaurant could buy t-shirts in support of Milton, which went toward the family's GoFundMe account. In addition, 20 percent of the restaurant's sales between 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. also went to support the family. less Community members line up to purchase t-shirt to raise money for Grant Milton, a varsity football player at The Woodlands High School, at Chick-Fil-A at the Alden Bridge Village Shopping Center Wednesday. , ... more Photo: Jason Fochtman, Staff Photographer Image 12 of 19 In this Nov. 26, 2016, photo, The Woodlands linebacker Grant Milton (21) is shown during a Class 6A Division I regional semifinal game in Waco, Texas. School officials say Milton is in intensive care after suffering an injury during a playoff game. Conroe Independent School District spokeswoman Sarah Blakelock said in a statement Monday that Grant Milton was injured during the regional football playoff game Saturday. (Jason Fochtman/Houston Chronicle via AP) less In this Nov. 26, 2016, photo, The Woodlands linebacker Grant Milton (21) is shown during a Class 6A Division I regional semifinal game in Waco, Texas. School officials say Milton is in intensive care after ... more Photo: Jason Fochtman, MBO Image 13 of 19 The Woodlands linebacker Grant Milton (21) celebrates with defensive linemen Michael Purcell (99) after sacking Austin Bowie quarterback Wade Smith (11) during the second quarter of a Class 6A Division I regional semifinal game at McLane Stadium Saturday, Nov. 26, 2016, in Waco. Milton was reportedly rushed to the hospital for emergency brain surgery during The Woodlands' 52-31 win over Bowie. less The Woodlands linebacker Grant Milton (21) celebrates with defensive linemen Michael Purcell (99) after sacking Austin Bowie quarterback Wade Smith (11) during the second quarter of a Class 6A Division I ... more Photo: Jason Fochtman, Staff Photographer Image 14 of 19 The Woodlands' outside linebacker Grant Milton (21) runs the ball in for the touchdown after intercepting a pass intended for Oak Ridge's wide receiver Darrius Jelks (2) during the first half of a District 12-6A high school football game between The Woodlands and Oak Ridge, Thursday, Oct. 13, 2016 in Shenandoah. ( Karen Warren / Houston Chronicle ) less The Woodlands' outside linebacker Grant Milton (21) runs the ball in for the touchdown after intercepting a pass intended for Oak Ridge's wide receiver Darrius Jelks (2) during the first half of a District ... more Photo: Karen Warren, Staff Photographer Image 15 of 19 The Woodlands linebacker Grant Milton (21) sacks Austin Bowie quarterback Wade Smith (11) during the second quarter of a Class 6A Division I regional semifinal game at McLane Stadium Saturday, Nov. 26, 2016, in Waco. Milton was reportedly rushed to the hospital for emergency brain surgery during The Woodlands' 52-31 win over Bowie. less The Woodlands linebacker Grant Milton (21) sacks Austin Bowie quarterback Wade Smith (11) during the second quarter of a Class 6A Division I regional semifinal game at McLane Stadium Saturday, Nov. 26, 2016, in ... more Photo: Jason Fochtman, Staff Photographer Image 16 of 19

The Woodlands linebacker Grant Milton (21) returns a interception 50 yard for a touchdown during the second quarter of a District 12-6A high school football game at Woodforest Bank Stadium Thursday, Oct. 13, 2016, in Shenandoah.

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The Woodlands linebacker Grant Milton (21) returns a interception 50 yard for a touchdown during the second quarter of a District 12-6A high school football game at Woodforest Bank Stadium Thursday, Oct. 13,

... more Photo: Jason Fochtman/Houston Chronicle Image 17 of 19

The Woodlands linebacker Grant Milton (21) celebrates after sacking Austin Bowie quarterback Wade Smith (11) during the second quarter of a Class 6A Division I regional semifinal game at McLane Stadium Saturday, Nov. 26, 2016, in Waco. Milton was reportedly rushed to the hospital for emergency brain surgery during The Woodlands' 52-31 win over Bowie.

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The Woodlands linebacker Grant Milton (21) celebrates after sacking Austin Bowie quarterback Wade Smith (11) during the second quarter of a Class 6A Division I regional semifinal game at McLane Stadium

... more Photo: Jason Fochtman/Houston Chronicle Image 18 of 19 The Woodlands outside linebacker Grant Milton (21) breaks up a pass intended for Lufkin wide receiver Beau Atkinson (25) during the third quarter of a District 12-6A football game at Woodforest Bank Stadium on Friday, Sept. 30, 2016, in Houston. ( Brett Coomer / Houston Chronicle ) less The Woodlands outside linebacker Grant Milton (21) breaks up a pass intended for Lufkin wide receiver Beau Atkinson (25) during the third quarter of a District 12-6A football game at Woodforest Bank Stadium on ... more Photo: Brett Coomer, Staff Image 19 of 19 FOOTBALL: Injured Highlander football player's father grateful for support 1 / 19 Back to Gallery

The father of The Woodlands High School football player critically injured during a playoff game Saturday in Waco said his son is improving on Wednesday, although doctors will not know the full extent of any possible long-lasting brain damage for weeks.

All this on a day where a big donation was made by Houston Texans star J.J. Watt and a T-shirt fundraiser was held at the Alden Bridge Chick-fil-A restaurant.

In an interview with The Courier on Wednesday, Miles Milton, father of senior linebacker Grant Milton, said he still does not know what caused his son's injury resulting in Grant being transported from Baylor's McLane Stadium to a Waco hospital. He is in a medically induced coma but is showing signs of communicating, his father said.

MORE UPDATES ON GRANT: Web site provides details

"It could have been one hit or a series of hits," Miles Milton said. "We don't know. If you followed Grant, you know he's a pretty tremendous athlete. He was playing in a great game."

More Information

How to help the Milton family

A GoFundMe page is raising money for Grant Milton's medical expenses.

The Woodlands defeated Austin Bowie 52-31 in the Region II-6A regional semifinal game.

Grant had just come off the field from a series when he placed a towel over his head, vomited and then lost consciousness, his father said. On-scene paramedics, athletic trainers and the team's physician rushed to take care of Grant.

"They immediately knew something was going south when he started vomiting," Miles Milton said. "They called the cart over, and by the time he fell unconscious and had the seizure, they immediately rushed him on the cart to the waiting ambulance."

The medical staff's quick actions landed Grant in emergency surgery within 30 minutes of his injury, the father said.

GENEROUS J.J.: Watt makes big donation to help Woodlands player

With thousands of dollars and countless prayers being thrown toward Grant, Miles Milton thanked The Woodlands and Texas community for helping the family through this turbulent time. That help, in part funded by a GoFundMe page, was bolstered with a $10,000 donation from Houston Texans defensive lineman J.J. Watt, who offered support for the Milton family.

"If there's anything I can do to help, please let me know," Watt wrote. "Sending my best wishes to Grant and the entire Milton family."

Texans officials could not confirm the donation came from Watt, but at 6:04 p.m. Tuesday, Watt re-tweeted a link posted by TexasHSFootball.com, which relayed an open letter from one of Milton's friends and teammates, Grant Farley.

As of Wednesday night, more than $100,000 had been raised for the Milton family by more than 1,000 people, according to the GoFundMe page.

"We weren't aware that there was even donations being set up," Miles Milton said. "We became aware of it shortly thereafter. My oldest son just let me know that J.J. (Watt) had donated, which he is one of many. That's obviously a very substantial contribution. We have no idea what the medical bills are at the end of this, but what's most important is the thought behind it. People just care. The amount of prayer that we get, we've just had an outpouring of prayer."

Supporters for the Milton family packed the Alden Bridge location of Chick-fil-A in The Woodlands Wednesday afternoon as parents of the Highlanders football players were selling $15 #MiltonStrong21 T-shirts to help raise funds for the family.

An event that was supposed to start at 2 p.m. ended up starting at 12:30 p.m. as shirts were in high demand.

Morgan Dobson, marketing director of the Chick-fil-A location, reached out to some of the football parents she knew earlier in the week to lend a helping hand.

"I think once a Highlander, always a Highlander is how this community is," Dobson said outside the building as a line wrapped out front of the entrance.

Chick-fil-A was welcoming in and opened up its doors to the sale of the T-shirts and decided to turn it into a Spirit Night event that will last all day long.

"We decided to spin that into a Spirit Night," Dobson said. "We wanted to help out more than just allowing them to use the space. We wanted to go ahead and donate 20% percent of our proceeds from sales all day."

All five locations in The Woodlands were holding Spirit Night for the same cause.

"We might have a bunch of high schools around here, but it's one community," Dobson added.

Just about 1,000 T-shirts were basically sold out by 2 p.m. with word of 500 more coming to the restaurant later in the afternoon.

Inside the building, members of the Chick-Fil-A crew were decked out in the T-shirts being sold and others were wearing other Woodlands Highlanders gear.

The tables and chairs were filled with classmates and teammates of Milton.

"Everyone has been pulling together and it's been a great thing," The Woodlands senior Zachary Loane said as he peered around the restaurant.

Said Cole Sichley, a senior teammate of Milton's on the football team. "I think it's incredible seeing how crazy it is here. It's great to see our school here and rallying for Grant. There's some emotions. But there's a lot of good things going on."

Loane is also teammate of Milton on the Highlanders football team and a long time friend since they were teammates in seventh grade.

Loane described Milton as a fighter.

"He's a very strong kid and strong personality," Loane said. "I've looked up to him since we first met really. He's been a good friend of mine and helped me through times. He's a great kid, he really is."

Loane felt his classmate has really brought the school and community together.

"You just know how hard he is fighting right now," Loane said. "We are fighting for him right now at this point."

The team is inspired by the fight Milton is putting up as they try to focus on the upcoming playoff game.

The Woodlands (13-0) is set to play Round Rock (10-3) in the Division I Region II-6A finals at 2 p.m. Saturday at the same McLane Stadium in Waco.

"I think at first, it was emotional," Sichley said when thinking of Milton and his surgery. "I think now we are rallying the troops and we are excited for the upcoming game. I think we are all fighting for one cause."

To donate to the Milton family, visit www.gofundme.com/grant-milton-woodlands-21.

"Grant is an extremely popular kid, a friend to everybody and a huge smile," Miles Milton said. "He's a leader with strong academics and just one of those all-American kids. He touches everybody. For us, there's been such an outpouring all over the country."

The family is posting updates on him through CaringBridge.org.

The latest post says Milton underwent a CT scan Wednesday morning, which showed the swelling has mostly abated and the brain is beginning to return to normal size.

The injury occurred on the right side of the brain according to the post.

The post also states that the recent scan shows his brain stem has now returned to normal form, although it is still too early to tell what impact the injury had on his brain stem and brain function overall.

Milton is still breathing over the ventilator as well, and his arm movements are somewhat reactive and slight, but no intentional movement yet.

Adam Coleman contributed to this report.

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Source : http://www.chron.com/neighborhood/woodlands/news/article/FOOTBALL-Injured-Highlander-football-player-s-10645804.php

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