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Rockbridge County boy suffers traumatic brain injury in ATV crash and is released from hospital in just three days

Dad says ‘at one point I didn’t think I was bringing my son home’

ROCKBRIDGE COUNTY, Va. – The word miracle is tossed around a lot these days, but a Rockbridge County family believes that is exactly what they just experienced.

The afternoon after carving a pumpkin with his dad, 10-year-old Jonathan Goad jumped on his four-wheeler and went for a ride. “He doesn’t remember anything, he hit a tree,” said J.D. Goad, Jonathan’s dad.

His parents remember every frightening detail of watching their son loaded onto a helicopter.

“They put him on the backboard in a neck brace and he was just screaming like I’ve never heard him scream before,” recalled J.D.

Jonathan had suffered a traumatic brain injury when his head hit the tree.

Doctors at UVA Medical Center sat both parents down to discuss a game plan.

“They explain they’ve got to open his head up to take his skull out to fix the bleeding or he’s not going to make it,” J.D. said. “At one point, I didn’t think I was bringing my son home.”

10-year-old Jonathan Goad in the hospital after crashing into a tree on his ATV.
10-year-old Jonathan Goad in the hospital after crashing into a tree on his ATV. (Goad family)

Doctors performed surgery and the family fervently prayed.

“We have a big family. A lot of community folks that were praying for us,” said Denisa, Jonathan’s mom.

After a successful surgery, the Goads braced themselves for a long road to recovery.

“Then as they told us more, it was like I’m going to be here in the hospital for weeks. Saturday morning, they said you’re going to be here for a couple more days and then four hours later they’re saying what do you feel about taking him home this afternoon,” said J.D.

10-year-old Jonathan Goad in the hospital after crashing into a tree on his ATV.
10-year-old Jonathan Goad in the hospital after crashing into a tree on his ATV. (Goad family)

Jonathan was making an unimaginable recovery. So much so, doctors released the boy to go home.

“When I headed home, I was thinking, ‘whew, I’m finally home,’” said Jonathan.

He is a traumatic brain injury patient who was home and almost fully recovered in just three days.

It is no wonder that friends, family and even first responders wanted to see his healing for themselves.

“As soon as I seen the [first responder] trucks pulling in it made me so happy, because I was like, ‘yes, I get to meet the people who are awesome and saved my life,’” said Jonathan.

They helped save his life and so did Jonathan’s decision to listen to his parents and put on his helmet.

J.D. Goad holding the helmet that saved his son's life.
J.D. Goad holding the helmet that saved his son's life. (WSLS 10)

“It’s got Styrofoam inside of it along with padding, so that it absorbs the shock for him when he actually hit the tree,” said J.D.

“If I didn’t put my helmet on for that split second and I had taken it off or something I knew that it would have been worse, way worse,” said Jonathan.

“Thankful that he did listen to us and that he did wear his helmet,” said Denisa.

Now, this 10-year-old has a message for other kids.

“Wear a helmet and make sure you always never driving faster than your parents tell you, even if you’re on a bike or something always wear a helmet and always keep it safe,” said Jonathan.


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