George and Kim Custer, the parents of injured Wright State basketball player Ryan Custer, held a brief press conference Tuesday to afternoon at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center to give an update on their son’s condition and what lies ahead.
George, who got emotional multiple times during his 3 1/2 minute statement, said Ryan is being considered for a stem cell study at Rush University in Chicago.
“We just found out he leaves Friday morning at 8 o’clock,” he said. “There’s no guarantees, but he’ll be evaluated for five days and hopefully he’ll pass the test that they’re going to give him and he’ll receive an injection. And then he’ll be there seven to nine days afterward for further evaluation. At that time he’ll go to an in-patient rehabilitation facility.”
Ryan fractured his C5 vertebrae April 8 when he jumped into a makeshift pool during a party at Miami University. He was air-lifted to the UC Medical Center, where he is still recovering after doctors removed vertebrae fragments and shaved the C3, C4, C5 and C6 vertebrae.
»INITIAL REPORT: Wright State freshman critically injured at party
George said the family is encouraged by some of the small improvements Ryan has made recently.
“Over the past few days he’s shown some improvement in his touch and movement. He’s able to feel his fingers to the touch and he has slight movement in his fingertips. Right now he has hardly any feeling below his legs, although he has felt us rub the top of his feet and he said there’s been some tingling in his thighs and his feet.”
George also made a point to clarify that Ryan did not injure himself by diving off a balcony or through someone’s legs into the makeshift pool during an April 8 party at Miami University, as was stated in the police report.
Ryan is in good spirits but also “nervous and scared for his future,” George said, adding “He’s not sure what’s going to happen. But we’ve assure him he’s not going to make this journey alone. We’ll be right there with him.”
George and Kim, who did not take questions, wrapped the press conference by thanking everyone for their prayers and donations, and they asked that those prayers continue.
“The more prayers we have, maybe God will answer our prayers and give him the healing he needs,” George said. “The only answers we can come up with through this whole terrible situation is that Ryan has and will be an inspiration to other people. He’s a very special kid and everyone’s going to see how tough, determined and resilient his spirit truly is.”