PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — A devastating sledding accident has left a young Pittsburgh Steelers fan in the state of Indiana paralyzed.
But his community, and of course, Steelers Nation is rallying around him.
According to USA Today, 17-year-old Austin McNew from Fountain City, Indiana, was sled riding with some friends earlier this month when he was in an accident that injured his spinal cord.
Austin is a junior at his high school and plays linebacker for his team.
Since his accident, Austin’s family and friends have been very active on social media, getting out his story, sending him well wishes and updating his condition.
The #McNewStrong hashtag is gaining steam on Twitter, and on a fundraising page to raise money for his growing medical bills, it says he’s undergone surgery and is beginning to feel some sensation again.
Austin’s story even caught the attention of Steelers’ star wide receiver Antonio Brown.
On Tuesday night, Brown Facetimed with Austin, who was covered in a Pittsburgh Steelers blanket in his hospital bed.
Austin: “I didn’t even know my friends were reaching out to you on Twitter.”
Brown: “I know. They was hitting me up on Twitter. As soon as I heard about it, I was like, I wish I could fly out there and see you. That’s why I reached out and gave them my number, man. I’ll be here along the way. Your mom will have my number, any time you need to talk to me, just give me a call.”
Brown asked Austin for an update on his condition and told him to stay strong. Then, Austin even asked the wide receiver if the concussion he suffered during the playoff game against the Cincinnati Bengals was getting better.
Both said they lifted one another’s spirits.
Austin: “I’ve been trying to be as positive as I can.”
Brown: “Yeah, that’s all we can do. Stay positive, you know? Everything will take care of itself.”
Austin: “One step at a time, but I’ll make it.”
USA Today reports that right now Austin’s prognosis remains unclear.