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Conner Erickson shows good progress at Mayo Clinic

After suffering a brain injury Sept. 9, Conner Erickson is recovering well with the help of physical and occupational therapy.

Conner Erickson in a football jersey stands on the field, holding a football.
Conner Erickson poses in his football jersey on at Don Adamson Football Field.
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BRAINERD — Brainerd Warrior Conner Erickson, who suffered a severe head injury during a high school football game last month, is making serious progress in his road to recovery.

Conner is making significant progress in physical and occupational therapy since moving Sept. 27 to Mayo Clinic in Rochester, according to an update on his Caring Bridge page. The 17-year-old is adjusting to Mayo well and his parents are hopeful.

“He is acting and looking more like our Conner,” the page stated.

According to Conner’s uncle Jared Erickson, Conner’s therapy is focused on regaining memory, moving the right side of his body and talking.

A family with a mom, dad and three children pose for a family photo.
Conner Erickson, right, poses for a family photo with his parents, Trina and Nick, and his three siblings.
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“It's a day by day thing,” Jared Erickson said. “It's really an hour by hour type of thing. The goal of Conner’s parents and the doctors and therapists and everything is to just continue forward, continue progressing and getting better.”

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A boy holding a fish in an ice house.
Conner Erickson poses for a photo with a fish he caught while ice fishing.
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There isn't a timeline or goals in place for Conner. Head injury recoveries vary from person to person, his uncle said, and it is hard to gauge how quick recovery might be. Conner’s family said they look at his progress every day, instead of counting days until he is out of the hospital.

“He's moving forward and the faster he can get things going and get his brain working properly, the quicker he's going to be out,” Jared Erickson said.

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He went to visit Conner after he moved to Mayo. Mayo is strict on who is allowed into the hospital rooms, so they had to meet outside, he said.

“He's got good eye movement and everything,” Jared Erickson said. “So he's making a lot of progress, that's for sure. But it's still going to be a long road ahead. That's for sure.”

A boy in a white tux poses for a photo.
Conner Erickson poses for a photo.
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Conner, a Brainerd High School senior and the captain of the Warriors football team, was playing in a Sept. 9 game at Moorhead when he collapsed on the sidelines. Play stopped for about five or 10 minutes, during which he was wheeled on a stretcher into the back of a waiting ambulance parked on the sidelines of the field.

Conner suffered from a serious brain injury and was rushed to Sanford Hospital in Fargo. There are a lot of unknown factors about what caused Conner’s injury, but his family set up a GoFundMe and a Caring Bridge page for updates and donations.

A boy in a football jersey poses for a photo with a football.
Conner Erickson poses in his football jersey.
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The community has rallied together to support Conner in different ways. The GoFundMe page gathered over $85,000 in donations thus far. The first goal of $21,000 was surpassed within the first 24 hours and the second goal of $50,021 was met in the past week. Another $19,000 was raised in a T-shirt fundraiser put on by The Teehive.

Blaze Pizza, Firehouse Subs and Main Street Nutrition in Crosby all helped to raise money for the Erickson family.

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Jared Erickson said Conner has a long road of recovery ahead of him and his family is incredibly grateful for the support they have received during this time.

A boy in a football jersey poses for a photo with his football helmet.
Conner Erickson poses on Don Adamson Football Field in his football jersey.
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SARA GUYMON may be reached at 218-855-5851 or at sara.guymon@brainerddispatch.com. Follow her on Twitter at twitter.com/SaraGuymon.

Sara Guymon recently joined the Brainerd Dispatch as a staff writer.
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