AUSTIN, Texas — Sports have a way of bringing people together through both the good and bad.
A prime example of this is a baseball tournament happening in Dripping Springs Sunday that will support a father and son going through an incredibly difficult time.
Tim Allen moved to Austin in 1995, eventually moving to Dripping Springs with his wife and two kids about five years ago. He and his wife Shara have an 8-year-old daughter, Kyla, as well as a 7-year-old son, Will. From an early age, Tim Allen knew Will was going to be into sports just like himself.
"Sports have always been a big part of my life," Allen said. "I knew from a very young age that Will was going to play sports."
Tim and Will regularly throw batting practice to Will on the weekends. A couple weeks ago, Tim and Will had just finished up a quick workout before the Super Bowl.
"We were heading to Valero to get Gatorades and maybe get him a Slushee," Allen said. "He loves Slushees."
It was just like any other Saturday until they got to U.S. 290 and Sawyer Ranch, when they were in a near fatal accident.
"Life changed that very moment," Allen said. "Initially, my thoughts were, 'How can I get to my son?' My first sight of him was not a good sight. I thought we had lost him."
They survived the crash, with Allen getting out of St. David's last week. Will, though, remains in the hospital. He is currently in a wheelchair with two rods and nine screws in his back.
"He has speech therapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy and group therapy," Allen said.
With the location of the crash being near his home, Allen said it's still hard driving by that intersection.
"I can't drive past that intersection," Allen said. "My initial thought was, 'Can I live out there anymore?'"
Even though this intersection has changed for Allen, the people in his life stepped up in a way he never saw coming.
Erik Whinery and Rob Neumann both know the Allen family. They both said they were hit hard the day the accident happened.
"Just hearing what was going on hit me harder than anything," Whinery said. "I stayed with Tim that first night on Sunday night in the hospital with them."
"I was driving to go watch the game at a friend's house when my phone rang," Neumann said. "I immediately started thinking about ways we could get involved."
With Will being known as an avid baseball fan and player, Whinery and Neumann had the idea of putting together a four-team baseball scrimmage to raise some money for the Allens.
"The minutes I made a phone call, another phone call was made, then another phone call was made," Neumann said.
What they planned to be a small fundraiser to help raise some money for the Allens has now turned into a 40-team tournament with kids of all ages from all over Texas.
"Honestly, it shouldn't be me sitting here by myself," Neumann said. "There literally should be 500 people sitting here. The minute we said tournament, it just blew up."
"This is getting a little bit bigger than we all anticipated originally," Whinery said. "We just feel so special to be a part of it with their family."
Along with the tournament, there are many other ways the Dripping Springs community has stepped up to help out.
Some family friends put together GoFundMe for the Allen family that has already raised more than $100,000 from more than 700 people. A family that owns a screen printing business created t-shirts with the phrase "#Willpower" that have also raised another $3,000 to go directly for the family.
The Allens have a few friends that have already started the process to help with home modifications for Will and the family, building bathroom modifications, a ramp into the house and lowering light switches.
"It's been a very uplifting experience in the darkest moments of our lives," Allen said. "It's overwhelming. It's really changed my outlook on life."
While Allen calls this a dark moment for his family, he said it has reminded him just how special his son truly is.
"Will has a special spirit to him," Allen said. "Nothing's changed with Will. He hasn't once said to me, 'Dad, why did this happen to me?' He didn't say 'Why?' He's an inspiration to me."
"I continue to tell people, even my son, 'You need to be just like Will,'" Whinery said. "He's got a lot of attitude. He's got a lot of charisma. He's got a lot of personality."
"If you haven't met Will, he's got this smile," Neumann said. "He was that one kid on the team that always had that smile. I've forgotten about the world's problems and the focus is literally on coming together and healing as a community. Just being there for Tim and Shara and for Will."
Tim doesn't know what life has in store for his son. No matter what, he said his son has a uplifting spirit he's confident will one day get him back on his feet.
"My heart breaks for him that he may not play baseball again," Allen said. "Can he walk right now, no. But his goal will always be to walk. If he believes that he will do it again and he has that hope, then anything's possible. He's going to be involved in sports. He's going to be a part of these teams. He will help coach these teams. I'm going to teach him how to scorekeep. We're going to get him home and get him healthy."
Whinery and some other parents are also talking to Whataburger about possibly having "Willpower" printed on the bags at their Dripping Springs restaurants at some point this year in his honor.
The entry fees from Sunday's baseball tournament are being donated to Will and then proceeds from the concession stands will go to the family.
Professional athletes that heard the story reached out with warm words and support for the family and community.