BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - He was giddy with excitement as he arrived at his first football practice as a freshman. His mother Laquita had dropped him off at Ramsay's practice on June 5th and then drove to work. Hours later, the word came: 15-year-old Jalen Hall had collapsed at practice and was being rushed to Children's Of Alabama.
Laquita quickly drove to the hospital and waited nervously for up to an hour before being allowed to see her son. When she did enter the room, her son had ice packs surrounding him as doctors wore concerned looks. Laquita was told that her only son had suffered heat stroke, and shortly thereafter the news worsened: Jalen's organs were failing - his kidneys, his liver were in danger. Her son was soon placed into a medically induced coma, 24-hour dialysis began and he was placed on a ventilator. One morning in the day of a life, and this? Laquita was mortified.
Jalen's mother would soon be surrounded by family and friends, although her daughter Asia didn't like to visit the hospital to see her brother in that condition. And just when Laquita was confident in believing that her son would be released from the hospital within weeks came more bad news: Her son would need a tracheotomy to help him breath. Jalen's hospital stay will be much longer than expected as the teenager has a long way to go.
Faith? Laquita has it, and she knows she needs it. She knows the bills will quickly pile up, but these days she's not worried about bills but rather about her son's clean bill of health. She tries to sleep, but that's not happening - she tries not to worry but that does.
Like most parents in her situation, Laquita is confused, hurt, angry, anxious, depressed and sad. She knows a GoFundMe account has been set up in Jalen's name, but her first concern is her son.
Jalen Hall regained consciousness five days ago, and Laquita says he is making some progress. He recognizes those around him and points to communicate. He is starting to realize that this will be a long road.
Yet despite this real-life nightmare, Laquita wants parents everywhere to remind their children to drink plenty of water while participating in sports. Jalen, she says, was not a big water drinker.
"Oh, he'd sip on an energy drink or a sports drink, but he never did drink enough water," she said.
Laquita hopes for the best, while reminding you that if happened to her child, it can happen to yours. Take heed, says Laquita, for we need to see that our children take every precaution during these hot summer months. And Laquita? She sits and waits, hoping that time treats her son well.