LOGANSPORT — Even three weeks after his car rolled down a 35-foot ravine on Ind. 25, 16-year-old Travis Palmer can remember every minute of the crash.
But as he sits in his living room, staring ahead and describing how his car shut down July 19, the Logansport teen is already making plans for the week. He suffered broken ribs on the left side of his body, a spleen injury and a collapsed lung, but he’s still going to support his baseball teammates at practice later that night.
Palmer was driving along Ind. 25 near Delphi on the rainy morning of July 19, when he said the power shut down in his car, knocking out the power steering.
He tried to keep his car straight, but over-corrected and flipped over, rolling down the ravine and stopping only as his car hit a tree stump.
The entire way down, Palmer said he was scared and hoping he would survive.
“I was just like please don’t die,” Palmer said. “Please land softly.”
As he crawled out of the car, he heard a construction worker yell “Are you OK?” from the top of the ravine. The anonymous construction worker, who Palmer is still trying to track down to thank, called an ambulance but left the scene after it arrived.
“If he wouldn’t have called, I would have just been laying there waiting for help,” Palmer said.
Once in the ambulance, Palmer received the news that he may have broken his back, and his career as a cross-country runner, baseball and basketball player at Logansport High School flashed before him.
“I won’t be able to play sports ever again,” Palmer said he thought at the time.
But after being taken to the Indiana University Arnett Center in Lafayette and then flown to Riley Children’s Hospital in Indianapolis, Palmer found out that his back wasn’t broken and that his athletic career was not over.
However, the injuries he sustained did mean that he would not be able to play in the Hoosier North Baseball tournament this past weekend — a regret that Palmer said weighed heavily on him as he was in the hospital.
Lisa Palmer, Travis’s mother, said when she received the call about the car crash, she was scared and shocked.
“It’s a phone call I never want to have to receive again,” Lisa Palmer said. “Your heart stops.”
Throughout his recovery, Lisa and the rest of Palmer’s family, friends and Hoosier North Baseball teammates frequently visited him in the hospital.
“They were really supportive and helpful,” Palmer said.
Ryan Johnson, Palmer’s Hoosier North coach, said the team came out to support Palmer, who was the “catalyst” of the team in terms of attitude and athleticism.
“He was one of our best players,” Johnson said. “We just don’t have a lot of guys like that.”
Palmer was released from the hospital July 29 and came home for continued rest and recovery, particularly for his lung, which had collapsed twice while at the hospital.
“It’s not back to normal, but it’s not bad,” Palmer said.
Lisa said she expects a full recovery from Travis, who she describes as the “toughest” out of the three brothers in the family.
“He’s quite the trooper,” Lisa said.
Palmer was driving on the 19th to visit his girlfriend who lives in Lafayette. Even though he said he’s still nervous about driving, he said he still has to get in the car and take that road.
“It’s not going to stop me,” Palmer said. “I have to see her.”
And in terms of sports, Palmer said he plans to start an exercise plan soon, so that he’ll be ready for next year’s baseball season.
“I know once I start working out, I’ll be fine,” Palmer said.
• Caitlin Huston is a staff reporter of the Pharos-Tribune. She can be reached at 574-732-5148 or firstname.lastname@example.org.