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Remarkable recovery, remarkable night

Posted May 22, 2013

Jacksonville Jaguars players, coaches honor 14-year-old Jake Westberry at 12th Annual Medicine and Miracles Celebrity Dinner

JACKSONVILLE – The last six months have been nothing short of remarkable for Jake Westberry.

On Tuesday night, a slew of Jaguars players, coaches and personnel officials helped honor those months, and helped honor Westberry’s remarkable recovery.

Westberry, 14, was hit by a drunk driver and dragged 186 feet while jogging with his uncle, Kenny Lowman, on November 1, along a highway near Waycross, Ga. He has rehabilitated since at Shands Jacksonville and Brooks Rehabilitation in Jacksonville. He spent a month in an induced coma and on a ventilator, but is now recovering and walking.

Westberry, who also sustained kidney damage, a collapsed lung, head lacerations and facial fractures – as well as road rash on 90 percent of his body – also had surgery to remove his spleen as well as to repair a dislocated shoulder.

He was honored on Tuesday at the 12th Annual Medicine and Miracles Celebrity Dinner to benefit Children’s Miracle Network.

The event, held at the Crowne Plaza in downtown Jacksonville, was co-chaired by Jaguars Head Coach Gus Bradley and linebackers coach Mark Duffner.

“It’s terrific how our coaches and players showed up, but this is a special time for him,” Bradley said of Westberry. “I was excited to meet everybody and be with our players, but it’s an honor to be with him.”

Fifteen Jaguars players served as waiters for the event, including running back Maurice Jones-Drew, quarterback Blaine Gabbert, quarterback Chad Henne, tight end Isaiah Stanback, linebacker Geno Hayes, offensive tackle Eugene Monroe, wide receiver Cecil Shorts, linebacker Paul Posluszny, linebacker Russell Allen, defensive tackle Sen’Derrick Marks, linebacker Julian Stanford and defensive tackle Roy Miller.

“Anytime you can get involved in a fundraiser that does anything for children, especially sick children, why not do it?” Scobee said. “It only makes sense. Now that I’m a dad, I have a lot more empathy for these families. I just met Jake, but wow, it’s an amazing story. It’s great to see where he is now.”

Coaches serving as celebrity waiters included Bradley, Duffner, offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch, defensive line coach Todd Wash, offensive line assistant Luke Butkus, tight ends coach Ron Middleton and quarterbacks coach Frank Scelfo.

Jaguars General Manager David Caldwell served as the celebrity bartender.

“I don’t think it gets any better than this,” Duffner said. “There’s no better thing. It’s a night of giving, and I just well up with pride and thanks.  . . We all move fast through life, and there’s a lot going on, but when have the opportunity to listen to Jake Westberry’s story, and to listen to what his family went through – to listen to their feelings about the medical staff, and the people at Brooks Rehabilitation . .  . it’s unbelievable.”

Photo Gallery of the 12th Annual Medicine and Miracles Celebrity Dinner

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