AUSTIN -- One of the first things you'll notice about Tyler Handrick is his smile, but his friends, family and church love the 19-year-old recent Vandegrift High School graduate for his heart.
"Oh my, he is incredible. All of his friends have been coming up here and say he's touched so many lives,” said his sister Leah Handrick.
On Saturday September 14, Leah got the phone call that her brother had been rushed to the hospital after a skateboarding accident.
"He was longboarding and when he shifted -- he either caught a rock or the curb and just took a tumble,” she said.
Tyler wasn’t wearing a helmet.
“He just never thought it was going to happen,” said Leah.
At first, she says doctors at St. David’s Round Rock Medical Center tried to keep the swelling in his brain down.
“He was being responsive, but then it just got really, really bad."
When things took a turn for the worse last week, surgeons had to remove the left part of his skull “to allow for his brain to swell as much as it needed to."
And so his family waits all day, every day, and prays for his fever and blood pressure to go down.
“We were holding his hand, and calming him down telling him to breathe and that we were here, and within minutes it dropped back to what it needed to be, so I know he knows that we're here,” said Leah.
St. David's ER Dr. Will Davis says in cases like this -- the risk of brain damage can be high. “Often, they can have permanent neurological deficit from that."
However, Leah and her family refuse to give up hope that Tyler will make it.
“We know he's a fighter and he's so strong, so we just know that he'll come through. It might not be 100 percent what he was, but he'll come through."
Support has come from all over the world -- since Tyler was very active in his church and missions trips.
“All the way from Nicaragua, and he's had people from Montana, Arkansas, and Colorado: they're everywhere,” said Leah.
Now friends are raising money to help pay for Tyler's bills as his family continues to focus on Tyler’s recovery.
If you would like to donate towards Tyler Handrick’s care, or leave a message for the family, please click here.