By Savanah Bandy
To an outsider, Troy Onstott is just like any other middle schooler.
He enjoys playing baseball and basketball. After school, he can often be found helping his dad on the family farm or going fishing at a nearby pond. In fact, he even participated on the Lamar Bass Team last year.
Troy is a busy kid leading a fun, active life doing what he loves, but just a little over 2 years ago, Troy suffered injuries in a UTV accident that threatened to change his life forever.
On July 4, 2019, then 10-year-old Troy was tending to farm chores with his father, T.J., while his mother, Jill, and siblings, Elliott and Thayer, were out shopping. When T.J. needed something from the house, located about a mile away, he sent Troy on a utility vehicle along a dirt road. It was a ride Troy had made many times, but this time, he didn’t return. When T.J. went looking for him, he found him lying face down and unconscious in a ditch by the wrecked UTV.
Troy had to be life flighted to Children’s Mercy in Kansas City, where his parents learned he had suffered a traumatic brain injury. The doctors called it a DAI or diffuse axonal injury, also known as shearing of the nerves in the brain. Troy remained unconscious for 5 days.
Excerpt from the February 2020 edition of Show Me The Ozarks Magazine:
Troy had a long fight ahead of him. After he awoke from his coma, he couldn’t talk or make a sound for 26 days. He couldn’t hold his head up or sit up on his own. He had to relearn everything and make new brain connections.
“When he talked for the first time,” said Jill, “we couldn’t understand him. He loves fishing, and when he first spoke, he kept repeating a phrase that ended with the word reel. He had been watching his favorite fishing videos, so we thought he wanted his fishing reel. But he kept repeating that phrase. I finally asked him if he could type it out on my phone. He typed, ‘Are you guys real?’ That was hard to swallow. We had to explain what had happened and where he was.”
T.J. recalled, “Upon arriving in the PICU, Troy’s coma rating was a 3, totally unresponsive, and only improved to a 7 by the time he left the PICU 7 days later. While waiting for Troy to wake up and before tests were run, I decided to research what one doctor speculated Troy’s injuries to be. What I read was scary. I felt helpless and hurt, and at one point, I was unable to catch my breath. But Jill was close by reminding me to pray and believe in God’s miracles. That was a turning point for me.”
When Show Me The Ozarks Magazine last visited with the Onstott family, Troy was healing fast. He was walking again and had returned to school part-time.
Today, just 2 years later, Troy has made a full recovery. He is looking forward to middle school basketball and has big plans to grow his own vegetables this year.
“We are just so grateful for answered prayers,” said Jill. “Troy is loved by so many, and we couldn’t be more proud of the young man he’s becoming. His smile lights up a room! I thank God every day for healing our TroyBoy.”
See more photos in the February 2022 print edition.