REDDING, Calif. - The stepfather of Shasta College football player, Tyler Burton, tells KRCR News Channel Seven in an exclusive interview that he is making progress every day.
The 21-year-old was attacked the night of October 27 in downtown Chico. His alleged attacker is 20-year-old Andres Rodriguez.
Burton suffered a stroke and severe brain damage, leaving him paralyzed on the left side of his body.
His step-dad, Roddy Hash, said he and Burton's mom, Kim, got a call in the middle of the night from a surgeon.
"He told us that her son was assaulted in Chico, California and that he needed to have an immediate operation to take a portion of his skull off to relieve the pressure and that he was also in a coma," he said.
Burton's parents took the next flight to Chico from Washington and haven't left since.
For weeks, Burton was kept in the intensive care unit at Enloe Medical Center. After some time, doctors began to lose hope.
Burton was transferred from Enloe Medical Center in Chico to Vibra Rehabilitation Hospital in Redding on Thursday afternoon.
Hash said he cannot believe where they are right now. "The day before Thanksgiving, they pretty much told us that he was going to pass; that he would basically slowly fall asleep and that he would die," Hash said.
Burton's parents started preparing for the worst, even looking into organ donation.
Doctors did their final operation putting his skull cap back on. Three days later, things changed drastically.
"For the first time he started doing things on command like, 'Hey Tyler, raise your thumb up,'and he raised his thumb. Then his eyes changed and he could actually follow us," Hash said.
Burton is now making incredible progress.
"The same doctor that came out and found the family about 12 midnight, we were all there, said 'I just want you to know, we've used every tool in the box. There's nothing else we can do for your son.' Well, that same doctor came in the night before we transported him [to Vibra on Thursday] and said that, 'I can't believe this kid's alive and I'm blown away by how he's doing," Hash said.
Now that he is at Vibra, Burton will work on gaining strength. Hash said he's there "to stimulate every part of his brain, his throat, his vocal cords. He has a vocal therapist coming in. He doesn't speak very much but it's very 'whispery' speaking."
Hash said he and Burton's parents, Kim and Roger, are overwhelmed by the amount of support they have gotten.
"We've been getting cards from all over the United States. We don't even know who these people are," Hash said.
For more information on Burton's progress or to donate to their family:
There is a fundraiser for Tyler Burton in Redding on Saturday to help with his medical bills.
It's being held at Dutch Brother Coffee on Churn Creek Road. They are selling bracelets and t-shirts.
It starts at 11 a.m. and will go until they sell out of items.