Men's soccer player Gravatt seriously injured in snowboarding accident

January 15, 2015

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Penn State men's soccer player Brett Gravatt is recovering after a serious snowboarding accident, which has left him without the use of his lower body. The accident occurred on Dec. 26 in his home state of Virginia when Gravatt, a sophomore defender, fractured a vertebrae in his spinal cord. 

Immediately following the fall, Gravatt was airlifted to a hospital in Lynchburg, Va., and later that night was flown to University of Virginia hospital in Charlottesville. While there, he underwent emergency surgery to stabilize the fracture and also had two rods and eight screws put into his back.

On Jan. 6, the Dunn Loring, Va., native was then flown to Shepherd Rehabilitation Center in Atlanta where he is currently performing rehab and beginning his road to recovery. Since the injury, coaches, teammates, friends and family have flocked to the various facilities where Gravatt has been housed to show their love and support. 

"Accidents can happen to any of us and I have told our players, what if it was you? What would you want your teammates to do," said head soccer coach Bob Warming. "'One Team' is a motto of our athletic department and as I have told people before, the 'One Team' theme really means that we are all in this life together, to help each other, to be there when others need us, to support each other, to work together to make things better. It is our challenge and call to action to do this on a daily basis. In this instance, how can we help make things better for Brett?"

The injury is considered a very serious one and consists of a break to his T6 Thoracic Vertebrae. After spending a night in the intensive care unit, Gravatt was moved to UVA Hospital's trauma unit where he was placed for more than a week before being flown down to Georgia. 

"Brett has been dealt a challenging situation and I am sure he will attack it with the same amazing competitive drive he demonstrated this past fall with our team," Warming added. "Our job is to encourage, applaud and support the effort he is going to put forth."

Gravatt came to Penn State from Akron following his freshman season of 2013 and after recovering from knee surgery over the summer, made an impact for the Nittany Lions out on the pitch. He scored the game-winning goal in the first round of the NCAA tournament versus Hartwick and his stingy defense helped preserve 10 PSU shutouts during the season.

Since the accident, Gravatt's family has set up a special website (praying4brett.com), where friends, fans and all those in the Penn State family can receive updates on his condition and overall progress.

Those wanting to send cards or letters of encouragement can do so by writing him at:

Attn: Brett Gravatt
Shepherd Center

2020 Peachtree Rd. NW

Atlanta, Ga. 30309-1465

Last Updated January 15, 2015