Teen, who may have lost use of legs, arms in ATV crash, gets community help
Posted August 7
SOUTHINGTON, CT — A Southington teen who was seriously hurt in an ATV accident a little more than a week ago suffered a severe spinal injury.
Now, the community has come together to raise thousands of dollars for his recovery.
Ryan Catlin, 15, was told by doctors he may never walk or use his arms again.
"It's a nightmare, it's a whirlwind, like a bad dream you want to wake up from every morning," said Amy Catlin, Ryan's mother.
Eyewitness News spoke with Amy Catlin on Monday using FaceTime.
She said the accident took place on July 29 while Ryan was on vacation with his family in Maine.
Ryan's mother said he's been going up to Maine all of his life and enjoys his summers with his grandfather who lives up there.
She said he was not wearing a helmet at the time. He fell off the vehicle and injured his spinal cord.
He is being treated at at the Maine Medical Center in Portland.
"He blames no one, he holds no resentment," Amy Catlin said.
She said Ryan is a student at Southington High School and is an active teen who enjoys everything from movies and computers to sports like baseball and high school rugby.
He has his own boat and loves to fish, water ski, and jet ski. Following his accident, his family said Ryan will need months of intensive therapy and care.
A "You-Caring" page has been set up on his behalf to raise funds for this family, which will be faced with overwhelming costs.
"One of the big hurdles is that we're away from home," Amy Catlin said. "I still have a 12 year-old daughter at home who's missing mommy and daddy."
Due to the severity of the injuries, Ryan will have to undergo months of intensive therapy and will be transferred to the Shepard Center in Atlanta for care.
Amy Catlin said she's taking everything one step at a time. Every one of those steps she called a small milestone.
"He is looking towards moving forward, he knows he probably won't have use of his legs," she said. "He's hoping to have use of his arms. He's happy to have use of his brain and the function of the mind."
Extensive modifications will have to be made to their home to give Ryan freedom of movement.
They said they'll have to get things like a handicap accessible van, a wheelchair and a specialized bathroom equipment.
Ryan will also be moved to a rehabilitation facility out of state, which will require his mother to take a leave of absence from work.
She said Ryan is a fighter and despite everything that's happened, he has remained positive.
"He has a smile on his face, still and willing to do anything therapists and [doctors] ask him to do, even though it's painful," Amy Catlin said. "But he presses on!"
As of early Monday afternoon, nearly $50,000 was raised on the "You-Caring" page.
The creator of the page hopes to raise $200,000.
If you wish to donate, click here.
A Facebook page called "Friends of Ryan Catlin" was also created.