Brian Drnec, a junior three-sport athlete at Mount Hebron High, suffered severe spinal injuries Thursday night when he was thrown from a car driven by one of his teammates. Drnec is in stable condition at the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore. Doctors have told him they do not expect him to walk again.
Junior Stephen Martiyan was driving when the car lost control going around a curb, flipping end over end. The two were returning home from basketball practice when the single-car accident occurred. Martiyan, who was wearing his seat belt, suffered minor head injuries. He was treated and released from the Shock Trauma Center and was back in school yesterday, according to Mount Hebron Athletic Director Mark Cates.
Drnec, who was not wearing his seat belt, was thrown through the windshield. He had surgery Saturday and is paralyzed from the waist down, according to his father, Michael Drnec. Michael Drnec said his son broke the T4 and T5 vertebrae and also suffered a bruised spinal chord.
"We told Brian that the doctors have said he will be in a wheelchair for the rest of his life," Michael Drnec said. "And now we will try to prove them wrong."
Drnec is scheduled to be released Wednesday from the center. From there, he will go to the Kernan Hospital to begin what is expected to be a two-month rehabilitation.
"We're lucky to have him alive," Michael Drnec said. "When we first heard the news, we thought we would be attending a funeral."
In addition to playing basketball and baseball, Drnec started at fullback for Mount Hebron's Maryland 2A state championship soccer team.
"He's an unbelievably great kid. One of the best I've ever coached," Mount Hebron soccer coach Jeff Doolan said. "He's an incredibly hard worker. He was our best marking back this year."
The school postponed last Friday night's boys and girls basketball games against Howard after the accident. Both games have been tentatively rescheduled for Jan. 10 at 5 p.m., Howard Athletic Director Vince Parnell said. The girls game will be played at Howard and the boys game at Mount Hebron.