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Mooresville family overwhelmed by community support after teen’s spinal cord injury

MOORESVILLE, Ind. (WISH) — Amid the lights and Christmas trees, there’s a deeper message spread around Mooresville. It connects to a teen named Lucas Grounds who continues his fight after a spinal cord injury last week. But ever since, his family said they’ve been overwhelmed with the support from the Mooresville community.

Lucas’s parents said they thought a decade’s worth of training up to now was to lead to a professional career as a motorcyle racer for Lucas. Now, they believe and Lucas said too, it’s something else, something far more important.

“Lucas is a very, very amazing child,” said his mother Shanda Grounds.

Lucas’s father Justin Grounds got the call that every parent fears on Thursday evening at 7:23 p.m.

Lucas, a 15-year-old sophomore at Mooresville with 7 national motorcycle championships wrecked on a gravel road near Delphi, as he was following his mechanic and trainer to their home after a hard day of training.

Lucas has six Grand National Cross Country Championships, a circuit that has developed many top professional riders. Justin said races are 3-hour events with riders doing about 70 miles worth on dirt trails out in the country.

“He told me, that’s the slowest wreck I’ve ever had,” Justin said.

Lucas has wrecked at 50-60 m.p.h. This one was about 15-20 m.p.h. as he was transferring from the gravel road to a wooden bridge. But it threw him into a pole, breaking his back and severing his spinal cord.

The plan to turn pro at 16 was gone in an instant.

Even five days later, the transition from present tense to past tense for Justin is still hard.

“Racing is our life and it is everything or it was everything,” he corrects himself.

“As a momma, this is a very, very, very difficult thing but believe it or not, (Lucas is) the strongest person I know,” said Shanda who spoke from Lucas’s hospital roome at Riley Hospital for Children.

Lucas is an intense competitor but with a smile that can light the room. All his life he’s been fiercely independent, yet exceedingly polite and continues to always thanking nurses and doctors for every thing they do, even the painful things.

Lucas ditched the word rehab for one he’s much more familiar with — training.

“I thought we were training all these years for a pro career, but we were training all those years for this,” Shanda said.

The Grounds family is getting a huge boost from the Mooresville community. Dozens came to the parking garage with signs to cheer on 912, the number Lucas wore while competing.

“If you have to pick a small town to live in, Mooresville has got to be it,” Justin said.

The yard signs are simple “We love you 912 #LucasStrong.” T-shirts have also been made to benefit the family. A $100,000 GoFundMe effort for medical bills is already 2/3rds of the way there Tuesday night.

Support has come in from everywhere, the schools where Lucas and his three siblings attend and where Shanda works as a librarian, the sports leagues, even strangers.

“There is hope and prayer works and they’re wrapped around us,” Shanda said.

“The amount of support we have is overwhelming,” agreed Justin.

Lucas also gave a short virtual message to WISH-TV from his hospital bed.

“I just want to tell you be strong through anything you have to go through. There’s nothing you cannot do in your life ok? Everything, there’s always something after it. You might think it’s the end of the world, but there’s something else that can be done. Trust in yourself and believe.”

It’s a message that community and family is hearing loud and clear.

“We won a lot and we’re going to continue to win, it’s just win at something else now,” Justin said.

Lucas had major surgery on Friday. He’s currently paralyzed from the waist down. Doctors have told him he has a 3 percent chance of being able to walk again.

While they think he’ll be at Riley for another 6 weeks, the way he’s fought so far, his dad believes he’ll be out in 4-5 weeks.

If you would like to help, you can check out their GoFundMe account.

You can send Lucas a postcard at Riley Hospital here.

There are a few clothing options to support the family here and here where you can order through Tosha Pierni at indianagatorspierini@gmail.com.

The next pickup for “We Love You 912 Yard Signs” is 5-6 p.m. Wednesday at the Newby Elementary Dome. Payment can be made cash on site or via Venmo to the account @mopihoops. Any questions can be emailed to mopihoops@gmail.com.

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