For the first time since Drew Williams collapsed during a Lane Tech football game three weeks ago, his sister is speaking out. In an exclusive interview with NBC 5, she tells Nesita Kwan about his progress, and the long road ahead.
Andrea Williams said it happened so fast, it's just sinking in what happened to her little brother.
Lane Tech College Prep High School senior Drew Williams, 17, collapsed on the sidelines on Oct. 4 during a game against Dunbar Vocational and has been in the hospital ever since.
Doctors said the 5 foot, 11 inch and 170-pound football player suffered a severe brain injury and remains in a coma at Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn.
Though it's still not exactly clear what happened that day on the playing field, his sister exclusively told NBC Chicago more details are beginning to emerge.
"It looks like several hits," Williams said, "and the issue is if someone sustains a concussion and goes back in and sustains another concussion, it can cause damage."
Williams said that while an extraordinarily tough road lies ahead and the family isn’t primarily focused on how the trauma happened, they do believe it was caused by a series of injuries.
"Hopefully he will wake up soon," Williams said.
There has been progress, she said. After being on and off the ventilator, he is now breathing on his own.
"He looks really good," she said, noting he has moved his arms and legs and now blinks a lot, which he wasn't doing last week.
From the beginning, the varsity football player and his stunned family were surrounded by support. Lane Tech students have packed the hospital waiting room and sent them messages of love and encouragement.
"It really speaks to the kind of person he was. Everyone loved Drew," she said, breaking down.
The next step, Williams says, is most likely to be expensive long-term care.
"Long-term we don’t know what he's capable of doing. We're hopeful he will recover fully."
As Drew Williams lies unconscious in a hospital bed, his sister says people from all over the globe are reaching out to help. Donations have come in from all over the United States and all over the world. "Even Zimbabwe," she said.
A friend of Andrea's set up a website where people can donate money. To donate, click here.
The family also plans to host a couple of fundraisers to help pay hospital bills. The first one is slated for Nov. 16 at the Blue Light Bar on Western Avenue near Lane Tech.
Williams says she and her family are thankful for the help.
"It’s going to take a lot of time, but youth is on his side."