Community rallies around local teen following serious football injury

IDAHO FALLS — For the first time in several weeks, Tara DeRoche went home to sleep in her own bed.

Over the past couple of weeks, she’s been at the hospital bedside of her 16-year-old son Brock who was severely injured during a football practice.

“His injury was horrible and scary,” Tara told EastIdahoNews.com. “He’s had his bumps in the road and has had to endure five surgeries. It’s been one thing after another. We have cried a lot. My husband has said he has never cried so much. It’s just been a roller coaster.”

Brock, a junior at Shelley High School and a varsity football player for the Russets, sustained a hit to his stomach during football practice on Sept. 30, which caused severe internal injuries. Since then, he has been in the Intensive Care Unit at Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center in Idaho Falls. His parents have been staying at the hospital in the Ronald McDonald Family Room. Tara said Monday the only constant for the family has been the incredible outpouring of love and support.

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The DeRoche family has been shocked by the tremendous support, and by the power of prayer in helping Brock recover, Tara said. “We have received message after message (saying) ‘We have been praying and praying for your boy,’” she said in a telephone interview.

Brock’s condition is definitely improving. Recently, he was able to walk a few yards at the hospital with the support of medical staff and whispered his first conscious words to his mother, namely expressing his disdain for all the tubes in his body. This was after surviving an emergency Code Blue last week, where he almost lost his life.

Tara said the family and doctors are taking Brock’s condition one day at a time and the hope is that he will soon move out of the ICU to the pediatric floor.

“We have been so touched by how all of east Idaho has reached out to us to let us know that they are thinking of him and all the little things they are doing in support of Brock,” she wrote on the Caring Bridge site. Caring Bridge is a website that allows people to monitor the recovery of patients through updates from friends and family.

“Drew and I cry like babies every time someone sends messages or something is sent to us to show their love for Brock,” Tara wrote.

Brock plays cornerback, fullback and is on the special teams for the Shelley Russets. He’s been playing football since he was in fifth grade, his older brother Kyle was a conference pick as a senior last season.

A few days after Brock’s injury, his teammate and friend Tomy Bradshaw borrowed his #36 team jersey and wore it against Bonneville High School. Tara explained on her Facebook, “That Tomy is a fantastic player and he gets his name called a lot during games from the announcer. Anytime Tomy made a great play the announcer would call out Brock’s name not knowing that it was actually Tomy. That was a true noble act of selflessness. Instead of Tomy taking all the glory, he gladly gave it to Brock.”

She reported that surrounding high schools including Bonneville and Blackfoot High Schools have sent get-well cards. Hillcrest, Bonneville and Shelley high schools are wearing Brock’s number on their helmets in a show of solidarity for the football player and community members have been using his photo as a social media profile picture.

“Oh, my heart is exploding,” Tara exclaimed on CaringBridge about local students sending their love.

Tara is continuing to document Brock’s journey on CaringBridge. When asked what the family needs the most, Tara laughed and said the family had met their insurance deductible. The DeRoches are grateful for financial support and planned to give any additional funds after their medical costs to the Ronald McDonald House.

Above all, “Please pray for my little boy,” Tara said.