Lawrence County man emerges from weeks long coma
BRISTOL, TENN. — A popular Lawrence County man is out of a weeks long coma that resulted from a 70 foot fall that left him with several life threatening injuries to both legs, internal organs and a serious head contusion.
Justin Lee Maynard, 26, who is an employee of Apalshop in Whitesburg, Ky. and hails from Lawrence County where he graduated from LCHS in 2008, was hiking with friends at Bad Branch Falls in Letcher County on Sept 3, 2016 when he slipped and fell landing on his feet and shattering both legs and injuring internal organs.
Justin’s mother, Berneice, said yesterday that Justin is out of the coma he was in for more than a month and can talk and understand what she is saying. She has been at his bedside since the accident took place.
“My baby is coming back, it is nothing short of a miracle and we give God our praise and all the credit for Justin’s recovery so far,” she said from his room at Bristol Regional Med Center where he has been treated since the accident. “He has a long way to go and is still on some of the equipment but the ventillator is gone and he can eat and drink without the feeding tube,” Ms. Maynard told the Lazer Tuesday evening.
Justin was moved last Tuesday to a “step down” unit and out of ctitical care, she said. “We are currently looking for a rehabilitation facility, possibly in Louisville, to move him to while he can get the necessary treatment as he continues to recover.” It wasn’t that long ago that friends and family members feared that Justin would not recover from the deep coma that showed very little brain activity and the other injuries were daunting. But Berniece Maynard always held faith that her son would recover.
“It’s a miracle already,” she said. “All the prayers and support Justin has received during this ordeal have made the difference. We are hoping for a complete recovery although he has a long way to go,” she said.
Doctors have been tight lipped about Justin’s prognosis, however.
“They won’t say how much they believe he will revover eventually, they say they cannot tell at this point for sure. He has injuries to five different places in his brain and nobody can determine how much of the brain function he will eventually recover, but so far he is way ahead of what was first expected,” Berneice Maynard said.
As for his other serious injuries she said he has “moved his left leg and his left arm so far and according to the tests doctors have run, there is no serious spinal damage. His legs were shattered and he has a broken lower back that is healing, she said. Berneice said Justin’s health insurance from his job at Apalshop has kicked in and is paying for a lot of his medical care.
While she was speaking to us on the phone we could hear Justin talking and asking her questions. She told him Mark was calling and he said, “you mean Mark Grayson at The Lazer?” and Berneice said ‘yes’. She told him that The Lazer has had over 40,000 emails, views and hits on stories posted about him. In his usual self efacing style, he asked if they were upset about him getting lost and falling off a cliff? We told him, absolutely not, they care about you and they want you to get better. His mom said he seemed pleased to hear that.
“His mind does wander and sometimes he gets confused as to where he is, (sometimes he thinks he’s at Three Rivers) but he recognizes people, mostly family members, who come by to visit so he is making a lot of progress and we are thrilled as are the doctors,” Berneice said.
A LCHS grad, Justin was an intern with TheLevisalazer.com just after graduating from Alice Lloyd College and served two years in the Peace Corps before getting a job with the prestigious Apalshop organization. His fellow students and teachers from several states have inquired about him on The Lazer including an inquiry all the way from Panama, where he served in the Peace Corps for over a year.
“Everywhere he has gone he has left behind friends and a good feeling. He is a genuine people person because he really cares,” a former teacher at LCHS remarked.
You can help with the expenses of Justin’s long ordeal back to full health at: https://www.gofundme.com/2nc5gd8 where a fund has been set up in his name.
Justin’s family wanted to say thank you for all the prayers and support they have received from people throughout the region. “We want everyone to keep praying for Justin, he still has a long way to go,” Berniece said.