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MS: student in coma after shotgun accident

September 14, 2010

Heritage student in coma after shotgun accident A 17-year-old Heritage Academy soccer player has slipped into a coma after accidentally shooting himself while dove hunting Sunday in Noxubee County, according to Headmaster Tommy Gunn.

Spencer Perkins was hunting on family-owned property off Highway 388 near Brooksville when he reportedly dropped his shotgun, causing the gun to fire into his face at about 5:30 p.m., said Heritage Athletic Director Bruce Allsup.

The junior's twin brother witnessed the accident and called their father, Tim Perkins, of Monroe Tufline in Columbus, who was hunting nearby.

Perkins was airlifted in critical condition to the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson, where he was listed as in critical but stable condition early today.

"He's hanging in there," said Perkins' father. "All I can say is keep him in your prayers. He's a tough little guy."

Doctors have told the family that the first 72 hours are the most critical and will determine whether Perkins will survive, his father said.

Although Perkins is "fighting for his life," he is "holding his own," Gunn wrote in an e-mail update Monday night.

"We're cautiously optimistic," Gunn said today. "The fact that he is still with us is a miracle in its own right."

Fluid began building up Monday afternoon, but the swelling cleared and he began improving at about 6 p.m., Gunn said.

"Yesterday was a roller coaster ride, no doubt," he said.

Perkins, he added, is not in a vegetative state, despite rumors.

"He is in a coma but with all the trauma he has experienced I guess that is to be expected," Gunn wrote. "I did get to see him for a few minutes this afternoon and he is a very strong young man and God's awesome love is being show by everyone."

The school has rescheduled homecoming, Grandparents Day and Special Friends Day to Oct. 15, according to the school's website.

About half of Perkins' class went to the hospital Monday, where they met students from Greenwood, Yazoo City, Meridian, Jackson and elsewhere, who were also there to show their support, Gunn said.

"We have a long way to go and no one knows but God what will happen but the power of God's love is a awesome thing. I saw it first hand today," he wrote.

More than 1,170 people have joined a Facebook prayer page for Perkins since Sunday.

The school also held a prayer vigil for Perkins Monday evening, Allsup said.

Gunn said the Perkins family is holding up "remarkably well under the dire circumstances," trusting in God and hoping for the best.

"They're hanging in there," he said.

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