Junior Fuel hockey player is battling off the ice

Carson Rainey is being treated at IU Health Riley Hospital for Children. (Photo: Christina Rainey)
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INDIANAPOLIS (WTHR) - Indianapolis native and North Central High School student Carson Rainey is a member of the Junior Fuel Hockey Club. They travel frequently for games and tournaments, but on Jan. 18, Carson and his dad, Gary Rainey, never made it to a Pittsburgh game.

Carson was asleep in the backseat when they hit a patch of ice, collided with an 18-wheeler and slammed into a guardrail. Carson was ejected through a rear window.

"When the car stopped, I immediately looked for him and called out for him and when I turned around, he wasn't here in the car. It was probably the most terrifying moment my entire of my life," Gary remembers. "He called for me and I found him about 40 feet away from the vehicle."

Carson had three damaged vertebra and was rushed into surgery at Dayton Children's Hospital. He also suffered a lacerated kidney and a few head lacerations but miraculously, no traumatic brain injury.

"Carson, if there's a perfect way to fly out of a car, you figured it out," a doctor was quoted as saying.

The 16-year-old has since been transported to IU Health Riley Hospital for Children, where he's continuing treatment. He's unable to walk right now but is slowly regaining feeling and strength in both legs. On Feb. 7, Carson stood up for the first time since the crash.

"Even with the emotional challenges of what's happening right now, he's still just like 'I'm gonna figure it out'. He might doubt himself, but he tries. He sees he can and then works harder at it."

The Raineys are grateful for the outpouring of support from the Indianapolis hockey community and beyond. A GoFundMe account started by the Junior Fuel had, as of late Monday, raised almost $36,000 dollars. And while Carson can't play right now, the Fuel are making sure to honor him when they do, with a "Rainey Tough" sticker on their helmets.

"We're all from out of town and come to Indy and have great experiences with people and fans," says Indy Fuel forward Joe Sullivan. "It's only right to return that favor."

Indy Fuel head coach Doug Christiansen says it's a situation they can all relate to.

"All of us have ridden to games with parents, family and friends from the time we were 4, 5 years old," Christiansen said. "Anytime something like that happens, it makes you take a deep breath, and we obviously want to support."

Gary Rainey says all of the love and prayer is a positive reinforcement of how great humanity can be. Carson is continuing to make progress and has a tentative March 13 release date.

"I don't have a doubt in my head he'll be back to my normal Carson one day," Gary said. "He'll be back on the ice."

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