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TUESDAY, AUGUST 21, 2007
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Decatur man improving a month after wreck

By Bayne Hughes
hughes@decaturdaily.com · 340-2432

Just the movement of Tyler Blake’s arms and legs or the focus of his eyes gives his parents hope that almost disappeared less than a month ago.

On July 26, Blake’s van overturned in the Alabama 20 East median. The 25-year-old son of Steve and Claudia Blake of Decatur suffered severe brain trauma and cracked vertebrae. He also needed six stitches in his leg, but, luckily, suffered no broken bones.

Steve Blake said Monday afternoon on his way to Huntsville Hospital that Tyler is “making little baby steps.” He’s still on an endotracheal tube and a feeding tube because he can’t swallow. Doctors took him off a ventilator six days ago. He can follow people with his eyes when they enter the room.”

He can squeeze a person’s hand. He can move his arms and legs, but he can’t control their movement. The doctors said his back would heal without surgery.

“He’s so far ahead of the time when we thought he wasn’t going to make it,” Steve Blake said. “We feel very confident of his improvement.”

A 2000 graduate of Decatur High School, Tyler attended Auburn University, but has been home for about 18 months. Just before the wreck, he visited his adviser with his dad to discuss returning to Auburn next spring or summer and getting his last six classes in his major, logistics.

Steve Blake, who works at Bank Independent, said the community’s response amazed his family. He is working with hospital personnel to get his son in a rehabilitation clinic, the next step in recovery, sometime this week.

“We really appreciate everyone’s prayers,” Steve Blake said. “It’s really humbling when your friends and acquaintances express so much support.”

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