Injured Duke receiver Holliday headed to Atlanta rehab center

lkeeley@newsobserver.comAugust 4, 2012 

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Duke's Blair Holliday in their game against Tulane in September 2011.

JON GARDINER — Duke Photography

Injured Duke sophomore receiver Blair Holliday is alert and headed to an Atlanta rehabilitation hospital next week, his parents said Saturday in their first update since his July 4 watercraft accident.

“Glimpses of Blair’s personality are emerging,” his mother, Leslie, said in a statement. “Blair fist bumps teammates and responds with a head nod when asked questions. Blair recently smiled while hearing his Dad’s voice over the phone.”

Following the accident in which he collided with teammate Jamison Crowder at Lake Tillery, Holliday was airlifted by medical personnel to the UNC Trauma Center, where he has remained. Crowder, also a sophomore receiver, refused treatment at the scene and was charged July 11 by the Montgomery County district attorney’s office with “not complying with state boating safety education requirements,” but can avoid any repercussions if he completes a free course and presents a certificate in court.

Holliday’s next destination is the the Shepherd Center, an Atlanta rehabilitation hospital specializing in medical treatment, research and rehabilitation for people with spinal cord and brain injuries.

Leslie Holliday again thanked UNC Hospitals and the Duke coaching staff for their support.

“We would like to thank UNC’s physicians, nurses, and staff for making a difficult time in our lives the best it could possibly be,” she said. “As we push forward, we would like to remind everyone of why Blair chose Duke to continue his academic and athletic pursuits. During his interview on National Signing Day, Blair said, ‘They (Duke) were true to their word.’ They were — and are — men of their words and Blair decided to be a man of his. Demonstrated from the beginning, the commitment by the coaches, administrators and advisors has not wavered and our family is touched by Duke University and its commitment to Blair. Please continue praying for Blair’s full recovery. Prayer works!”

The family also announced the establishment of the Blair Holliday Recovery Trust, an endowment to help the family with medical and rehabilitation expenses. Checks made out to "Blair Holliday Recovery Trust” may be deposited at any Bank of America nationwide or sent to P.O. Box 90559, Durham, N.C., 27708, with attention to Peggy Nelson. Additionally, Duke will sell $25 T-shirts with “Pray for 8” and “Every day is a Holliday” in the on-campus team store and at blairholliday.org.

Holliday, a Sherman Oaks, Calif., native, was projected to start at wide receiver this season after playing in 10 games as a freshman. He has a bible verse tattooed on his upper right arm — Matthew 7:13-14 — that his mother shared in the statement.

“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road to life, and only a few find it.”

Keeley: 919-829-4556.

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