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February 15, 2011

Prep athletes support burn victim

Last week, 15-year old Tripp Gleghorn was outside his parents' farm house in Hatch, N.M., doing his daily chores. After cleaning up around his family's pecan orchard, he went to burn the unneeded shrubs and weeds from the surrounding area when a combination of gasoline fumes and a lighter exploded on him.

The eighth grader at Mesilla Valley Christian ran into his parents' house, pleading for help.

"He was burned pretty bad, so his mom and I jumped into the truck and headed to the local hospital," said Tripp's father and Mesilla Valley Christian head football coach Charles Gleghorn. "I felt like they were taking too much time having us sign unnecessary paper work before even treating him, so I decided to just drive the 40-miles to Las Cruces."

"I was going over 100 mph with the flashers on when the state police pulled us over," he continued. "I explained to him that my son needed urgent care ASAP for his burns and he led the way and took us straight to the Las Cruces Hospital." said

The Las Cruces Medical Team contacted the Lubbock Burn Center in Lubbock, Texas, where Tripp was accepted as a patient. Mom, Dad and Tripp took the hour-long flight from Las Cruces to Lubbock where doctors quickly began work on Tripp.

"He had second degree burns on his right hand and on his face. On his left shoulder and left arm, he had third degree burns," Gleghorn said. "It was pretty bad, but Tripp was tough through the whole thing."

Tripp was in the hospital nearly one week and, according to his father, the hardest part was switching out the bandages daily. The Lubbock Burn Center also had to skin graph his thigh in order to replace some burns along side his upper body.

"Tripp's spirits were good and he was even more excited when he found out how many fans on NMPreps.com were wishing him well," Gleghorn said. "We received a ton of support from Raton to Albuquerque to Socorro to Clovis to Roswell, Artesia, to Las Cruces. It was amazing how many people sent well wishes."

Along with coaches and parents that sent cards, a few in-state members from the Class of 2011 that recently became Division I football commits also showed support to the 15-year old.

"Tripp is a huge prep football fan and what really boosted his spirits was the fact that players going from high school to college to play football showed him some love," Gleghorn said.

Raton (N.M.) High quarterback Dustin Walton, who is already enrolled at the University of New Mexico, sent a signed hat.

Rio Rancho (N.M.) High defensive back Tim Foley, who is expected to be a preferred walk-on at New Mexico, talked with Tripp on the phone to give him words of encouragement. The Foley family also invited Tripp to be honored at the 2011 Corbin Hayes Flag Football Tournament this summer.

A group from Clovis (N.M.) High sent cards, and a group from the Las Cruces (N.M.) Mayfield Trojans, the 2010 Class 5A state champions, drove to the Gleghorn's house and brought Tripp a signed picture of the Trojans holding up the 5A trophy.

"It brought a smile to his face everyday we were in the hospital when we would check the message boards to see how many views a non related prep football topic had," Gleghorn said. "When the thread went over 1,000 views, (Tripp) just had this big smile on his face. He has some recovery time ahead of him, needs to grow all the hair back that was burnt off, but he should be back to normal and playing sports soon. We are just so thankful to everyone from around the state that helped us during this tough time."

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