(Franklin) — A Heard High School senior’s life was turned upside-down earlier this week after a bonfire accident left him with severe burns to the upper part of his body.
17-year-old Spencer Hannah, the two-year special teams captain for the Braves varsity football team, suffered third-degree burns to his right arm and second-degree burns to his face and neck Sunday evening during a bonfire at a friend’s house.
According to his mother,Tanya Hannah, he was burned when he attempted to kick a gas can that had caught on fire away from some nearby children who were unaware of what was happening at the time.
When Spencer kicked the can away from the children it exploded causing burns to his own body. No other injuries were reported in the incident.
At first, Spencer was unaware of the severity of his injuries and had some friends drive him home. A neighbor found him fully clothed in his bathtub repeatedly dunking his head in and out of cold water and decided to drive him to meet his mom right away so they could transport him to Tanner Hospital in Carrollton. He was shaking and going into shock by the time they arrived at the Tanner ER.
While at Tanner, he was stabilized and his body was covered in ice blankets prior to him being transported to a burn unit in Austell, GA where he underwent surgery. He was released from the hospital late Tuesday afternoon.
Spencer was very disappointed when doctors told him that his high school football career was over and quite possibly his baseball career as well. He is a starting outfielder on the varsity baseball team.
According to his mother, Spencer was very depressed this week and reluctant to leave his home until he received a visit Thursday evening from head football coach Tim Barron and athletic director Shane Lasseter.
The two coaches presented Spencer with a coach’s shirt and asked him to help them coach the Braves special teams squad for the rest of the season. Spencer has always wanted to be a coach and a history teacher and hopes to attend the University of West Georgia next year to begin pursuing that dream.
Tanya Hannah said that the visit by Barron and Lasseter really sparked the young man’s spirits and that he is even considering being at Friday night’s homecoming game versus Jordan.
Lasseter has coached Spencer for several years and echoed the sentiments of other coaches in an interview Thursday evening. “Spencer is a great kid that plays everything the way it is supposed to be played,” said Lasseter. “He is hard-nosed and has the utmost respect of his coaches and his teammates. He is the type of kid that 10 years from now we will still be using things he did as an example to show others how things should be done. We think the world of him.”
Life will be different for Spencer now; he will never be able to be exposed to direct sunlight and it remains unclear how many more treatments and/or surgeries will be required during the healing process. One thing is for certain, however; Spencer is a hero in our community. He didn’t even have to think about doing what was best for those kids Sunday night, he just reacted and did it.
Tanya Hannah expressed her appreciation for everyone’s support this week. “We are thankful for everyone’s prayers! Heard County is a wonderful place to live. You don’t realize how many friends you have until something like this happens.”
Stay tuned to HeardCitizen.com for further updates on Spencer’s progress.