A bill to protect young athletes has it strongest chance yet to be passed this year. The 'Return to Play Act of 2013' would require public and private schools to establish a concussion policy. Georgia is one of only six states without a youth concussion law. One family is pushing hard for it to be passed.
Jonathan Barnett, or JB as he likes to be called, loves sports.
"Just running out there and getting a pass," Barnett said.
That's the way JB spends some of his time, throwing passes with his step-dad Ricky Gipson. His mom, Vickie Gipson, fondly recalls her son's younger years.
"He was a bundle of energy at the time he was born," Vickie Gipson said.
JB was good at everything.
"He was a three-sport athlete. Football, wrestling and baseball. His hands were so good they wanted him to be a receiver. Anything they threw to him - football or baseball- he could catch," Ricky Gipson said.
So you can imagine his parents pride when JB made his first touchdown. They could not have prepared for what happened immediately after.
"As he was getting off the ground a young man came and did an earhole hit. He staggered around. He fell down and got back up. He walked off the field walking sideways," Ricky Gipson said.
"I knew was hurt, I just didn't know to what extent," Vickie Gipson said.
The JB they knew never returned.
"As a mother you know your child, and the behavior I saw with him was not him, because he had always had such a love for life, from sports to whatever he did. He did with so much gusto," Vickie Gipson said.
The concussion sidelined JB in 2005. Roughly a year and a half later, JB was diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury. And just two months after that, in March 2007, the Gipson's faced another unimaginable situation while at church.
"I overheard a boy say, 'JB just shot himself.' Instantly my heart just stopped," Vickie Gipson said.
"In my heart I thought he was gone. Well he gurgled and when he did, I got in his face and I saw it was Jonathan. And you ask about feelings. Someone couldn't cut you open and make you feel no emptier," Ricky Gipson said.
Doctors told the Gipson's JB would not survive the injury.
"They told us within four to six hours he would die, the brain would herniated and he would be gone and after that six hours, it was any minute and any hour," Vickie Gipson said.
JB defied the odds.
"I shot myself. I don't know why," Barnett said.
JB said he wasn't himself after the concussion.
"It made me feel sad. I was confused. I couldn't be in the lunchroom with everyone," Barnett said.
And now, his life is dramatically different.
"Most of the time it's his bedroom and DVDs. Watching movies is what he lives to do," Ricky Gipson said.
"I lost the Jonathan that I knew. I thank God everyday for what I've got, but I don't have the same kid," Vickie Gipson said.
It all goes back to one concussion.
"One concussion, one child hitting another child playing a game. No money involved, just playing a game," Ricky Gipson said.
Copyright 2013WGCL-TV(Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
Friday, May 24 2013 10:53 AM EDT2013-05-24 14:53:19 GMT
Ryan David Jones/Source: RCSO
Friends and neighbors now say the Jones Family, Edna, Roosevelt, and Russell, are the victims of a suspected triple homicide in South Augusta.The Richmond County Sheriff's Office has been investigatingMore >>
The Richmond County Sheriff Office has charged Ryan David Jones with 3 counts of Murder and Possession of a Firearm during the Commission of a Crime.More >>
Friday, May 24 2013 8:54 AM EDT2013-05-24 12:54:11 GMT
The Richmond County Coroner's Office has confirmed a bicyclist has been struck and killed on Peach Orchard Road.Robert Donald Holden, Jr, of Hephzibah, was pronounced dead at the scene on the 3500 blockMore >>
The Richmond County Coroner's Office has confirmed a bicyclist has been struck and killed on Peach Orchard Road.More >>
Friday, May 24 2013 8:00 AM EDT2013-05-24 12:00:17 GMT
For 12 years Denise Glasford's sister fought in the Army, but died last year on Memorial Day. "Thinking about her and wishing she was still here with us," Glasford said. "It's been a tough year for the family." GlasfordMore >>
Glasford and her niece and nephew are three of dozens of family members paying tribute to soldiers who made the ultimate sacrifice. Here at Fort Gordon's Warrior Remembrance Memorial Day Ceremony, they're honoring those killed, and remembering those they left behind. Soldiers say the national holiday is much more than a day off from work to barbeque and celebrate.More >>
Thursday, May 23 2013 11:43 PM EDT2013-05-24 03:43:19 GMT
The Richmond County Sheriff's Office is investigating a shooting at the Cedar Grove Apartments.That's off of Deans Bridge Road.Residents in the area say that two people were shot and taken to the hospital.More >>
The Richmond County Sheriff's Office is investigating a shooting at the Cedar Grove Apartments.More >>
Thursday, May 23 2013 11:07 PM EDT2013-05-24 03:07:55 GMT
Praying and singing through their grief, dozens of people remembered the lives of Roosevelt, Edna and Russell Jones Thursday evening. "It hit me hard because this was like another family to me," saidMore >>
Praying and singing through their grief, dozens of people remembered the lives of Roosevelt, Edna and Russell Jones Thursday evening.More >>
Thursday, May 23 2013 10:53 PM EDT2013-05-24 02:53:59 GMT
An Aiken County man is in the hospital after being hit by a car in an alleged domestic dispute.The Aiken County Sheriff's Office received a call just after 7:30pm Thursday evening about a pedestrian beingMore >>
An Aiken County man is in the hospital after being hit by a car in an alleged domestic dispute.More >>
Thursday, May 23 2013 9:03 PM EDT2013-05-24 01:03:57 GMT
President Obama addressed the nation with the counter-terrorism policy which includes the controversial plan to shut down Guantanamo Bay. FOX54 has the exclusive interview with a former military defenseMore >>
President Obama addressed the nation with the counter-terrorism policy which includes the controversial plan to shut down Guantanamo Bay. FOX54 has the exclusive interview with a former military defense attorney who represented one of the GTMO prisoners. More >>
Thursday, May 23 2013 8:10 AM EDT2013-05-23 12:10:07 GMT
The images we're seeing in Oklahoma having a heavy impact on viewers around the country and here in the CSRA. Lindsay Findley says she was heartbroken when she found out about it. "It's just so sad toMore >>
Thirty disaster relief volunteers and vehicles have been sent to Oklahoma; three of them from the Palmetto region. And at any moment, volunteers with the Aiken chapter could be deployed.More >>
Wednesday, May 22 2013 11:34 PM EDT2013-05-23 03:34:56 GMT
Susan Swanson owns the Augusta Care Pregnancy Center on Broad Street. There is a two hour limited parking sign in front of her company but she says no one enforces it. The parking limit downtown has beenMore >>
Susan Swanson owns the Augusta Care Pregnancy Center on Broad Street. There is a two hour limited parking sign in front of her company but she says no one enforces it.More >>
Wednesday, May 22 2013 11:20 PM EDT2013-05-23 03:20:40 GMT
A vigil for the family members killed in a suspected triple homicide was held at the Augusta Deliverance Evangelical Church Wednesday night. The vigil for Roosevelt Jones, Edna Jones and their son Russell JonesMore >>
A vigil for the family members killed in a suspected triple homicide was held at the Augusta Deliverance Evangelical Church Wednesday night.More >>