It’s what Toran Maronic’s parents have been waiting desperately for since Friday — the sight of their son moving again after a devastating brain injury that landed him in a coma.
His father spoke to FOX40 by phone from Toran’s bedside at Valley Children’s Hospital in Madera.
“They helped him stand up, and then asked him if he could take a step forward with his right foot and he did, stepped back and did the same thing with his left foot. So he’s fighting,” said Dave Maronic.
When their fighter was giving it his all alongside his Bear River High teammates Friday, Toran wasn’t suited up like for a normal game.
He was in a no-pads, no-touch, 7-on-7 tournament in Morro Bay when something went terribly wrong as he dove for the football.
“I was running the route next to him and just saw him go jump for the ball, like any other play really, and hit a guy, and fell down. And I was like, ‘come on Toran get back up’ and he was out, out cold really. It was heartbreaking,” said Landen Clark, BRHS tight and defensive end.
“He landed in and on some spectators on the sidelines, and he laid motionless. After that he went into some convulsions, and he was unresponsive,” said football dad John Dzioba, who witnessed the accident.
“I was shocked, you hear about things like that happening to kids you don’t know, and you feel awful about it, but it’s so close. It cuts you to the core,” said Maronic family friend Jeff Jenkins.
Toran now has a small facial fracture, and his brain has suffered the random lesions of a diffuse axonal injury.
“Basically it’s his whole brain that was shaken up, so it’s not a specific spot,” described Dave Maronic.
At 6 feet, 180 pounds, Toran was an impressive figure as a football, lacrosse and academic stand out.
But with him sidelined, it’s like a light’s dimmed in this Grass Valley community, and it’s his impressive character that family, friends and kids he’s coached miss most.
“He’s very kind, very likable at school,” said Clark.
“He doesn’t like going to parties, so I learned not to go to those and be around friends that aren’t doing that either,” said Colton Jenkins, who had Taron as a coach in youth football.
He says Toran made being on the “straight and narrow” cool.
“Get well buddy. Just, uh, be strong for everybody. We miss ya and we want ya back soon,” said Dzioba, while wiping away tears.
And if there’s one thing Dave Maronic wants his son to hold onto in this moment, he says it’s this:
“I love him more than anything in life.”
Toran’s recovery could take six months, and no one’s sure what his level of function might be.
With the progress he’s made after just a few days, everyone is hopeful.
His school community has set up a GoFundMe page to help raise money to cover his medical expenses.
On Thursday, the Bruins will also hold a BBQ on campus from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. to benefit the Maronic family.
Toran is a huge Raiders fan and the team quarterback heard about his accident and tweeted out prayers to him Monday afternoon.
Prayers for Toran Maronic, Bear Valley HS, out of coma after accident Fri during 7on7 tourney, recovering at Valley Children's.
— Derek Carr (@derekcarrqb) June 27, 2016
The star of the “silver and black” also autographed a picture and had it delivered to Toran at the hospital.