Athletes, others show their support for Clovis teenager after trampoline accident
Support continues to pour in for Makai Lloren, the Alta Sierra Intermediate School student who broke his neck at a trampoline park last week and has started therapy at Valley Children’s Hospital.
The 13-year-old was at Community Regional Medical Center recovering after injuries to his C6 and C7 vertebrae, his dad Durbin said. Makai underwent surgery last week and began therapy on Friday at Valley Children’s, where he will spend a month before going home.
Makai has received well wishes from UFC president Dana White, UFC featherweight champion Max Holloway, world-champion freestyle wrestler Kyle Dake (Makai’s idol), Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen of Firebaugh and many others, Durbin Lloren said. Eric LeGrand, the Rutgers football player left paralyzed from an injury in a 2010 game, sent his support in a video.
Durbin was a standout wrestler at Fresno State (1984-88) whose sons have followed him into the sport. Makai’s older brother Durbin “DJ” Lloren is a redshirt sophomore at Fresno State.
The Buchanan High program donated proceeds from tickets and T-shirt sales from Tuesday’s “Battle of the Bears” dual meet against Selma to the Lloren family. Fans at the match wore white “Team Makai” T-shirts.
“It’s crazy how this thing got so big,” Durbin Lloren said. “There’s national news calling, people all the way from the East Coast . ... His story is really getting out there and I think It’s going to be good for kids that are injured in the spinal cord. I feel for everybody that’s in the same situation. People are calling up and helping from all over the place. It’s just incredible.”
Makai’s cousin, McCarthy Ellis, established a Go Fund me account to raise enough money to buy Lloren, known to many as “Kai Kai,” his first motorized wheelchair. As of Friday evening, the account had $16,000 in pledges.
“Wrestling is a family and Makai is part of that family,” Alta Sierra Intermediate coach Chris Hansen said. “There’s a lot of bond and support for Makai and we hope he gets back soon.”
The support extended beyond the Buchanan wrestling community to Clovis Unified: Clovis High encouraged wrestling fans to bring a gift card for Makai of $10 or more to get in free to its Thursday night dual match against Clovis North.
Buchanan coach Troy Tirapelle said, “His family has been a part of the program for a while. His older brother, DJ, and his sisters came here and graduated. He has a sister that comes here right now. He’s been in my program since he was a Garfield (Elementary School) Cub in offseason stuff. Looking forward to him being a Buchanan Bear. We hope for the best for the situation he’s in right now.”
Makai was injured at Defy Clovis after trying a double front flip and landing on his neck, his brother Durbin “DJ” Lloren said. The park, which opened in December, released a statement:
“Our heart goes out to Makai and his family during this difficult time. The safety and well-being of our visitors is a top priority, and we adhere to the strictest standards prescribed by the International Association of Trampoline Parks. We look into every incident that happens at our parks with the utmost care for those involved. We are investigating this issue and will cooperate fully with all involved parties.”
Makai Lloren is recovering after a break of the neck and injuries to his C6 and C7 vertebrae after a trampoline accident last week. He was transported to Valley Children’s Hospital on Thursday. He will begin therapy on Friday.