ROGERSVILLE, TN (WJHL) – Over 250 golfers came out to McDonald Hills Golf Club in Rogersville to play for JT Brooks, a high school football player who suffered a tragic injury. JT is a quarterback for the team and suffered a life-changing spinal cord injury during spring football practice in May. He is now paralyzed from the chest down and his family is leaning on the community to help cover medical expenses.
Family members tell News Channel 11 that the first year of medical bills can reach up to $700,000. Players, volunteers, and sponsors lined the green of the golf club to support the cause.
JT’s aunt, Leah Brooks, says today’s weather fits with JT’s character.
“It is just such a beautiful day and I just think that represents it and his character and just our community as a whole,” Brooks said.
Robin MacLellan, who lives with the family, said that this event has touched the lives of many in the community. “I think every family in our community and the surrounding community has been touched by this,” MacLellan said.
One of his best friends, Rivers Bailey, said despite the injury Brooks is keeping his spirits up and he’s just as funny as before.
“He told me, if you get famous like me one day maybe you can get a golf tournament for yourself, just making jokes like he always does,” Bailey said.
JT even used FaceTime to call in and show his appreciation. “I’d like to thank the participants, the volunteers, the sponsors, and the community for everything they’ve done. Have fun out there and if you take any pictures or video’s please send them into the FightforFive.com,” Brooks said.
His website works with the Help Hope Live organization, proceeds that benefit the South-Atlantic Spinal Cord Injury Fund.
“Our goal is to cover the cost of some equipment for it that isn’t covered under the health insurance,” MacLellan said.
JT wasn’t at today’s event because he is currently a patient at the Shepherd Center in Atlanta. His family hopes this money will help him return home to Rogersville to continue his recovery.
“What we want to do is get him an FES bike and a standing frame so that he can work on his recovery at home,” MacLellan said.
His friends say that he’s looking forward to coming home and doing things he loves. “He just misses Pal’s, home, he said all he wants to do is just drive his truck and listen to Kenny Chesney that’s all he wants to do,” Bailey said.
The tournament costs $50 a golfer and they actually added another tee time tomorrow at 1 p.m. as they continue to raise money for JT.Copyright 2016 WJHL. All rights reserved.