Students gathered just inside the entrance to Klosterman Field at Effingham High School early Wednesday afternoon to send prayers and support for Effingham's Tristin Duncan.
Duncan was involved in a serious car accident Tuesday around 6:15 p.m. After arriving to HSHS St. Anthony Hospital it was established Duncan had a brain bleed and had a breathing tube put in, his girlfiend Riley Arend told the gathered students staff. He was later transferred to Carle Hospital in Urbana.
Holden Lewis, an EHS student, and Arend spoke to the crowd about Duncan's condition.
Arend said that Duncan woke briefly at the hospital and reached for his breathing tube before being sedated. She also said that Duncan is too stubborn to give up and let this get the best of him and that he would keep fighting.
Following the update, the group of students were led in song by Jordan Pride, a local musician and worship leader at Christ's Church. After starting the song, Pride suddenly stopped. He said he felt he should share the chorus of the song, "See a Victory" by Elevation Worship, so everyone in attendance to sing along.
"I'm gonna see a victory, I'm gonna see a victory, For the battle belongs to You Lord, I'm gonna see a victory, I'm gonna see a victory, For the battle belongs to You Lord."
Following the song, Lewis spoke about what giving your life to God truly means, and how life on earth is only a small part in our lives over eternity and how you can better serve god now.
Later during the gathering, Arend told the group that word had just been received that Duncan's breathing tube had been removed and he was breathing on his own.
Plans for a more public prayer group and meeting for Duncan are in the works, as there were many people from surrounding schools who wished to extend prayers and support.
"We have received word that a number of students in the area have planned to come to Efﬁngham High School today to show their support," said Unit 40 Superintendent Mark Doan said Wednesday morning. "We are very thankful for the support, however, EHS is not in a position to host students from other districts in our facility at this time. We would encourage students from other schools to show their support at their own schools and possibly post a video of the event. While EHS cannot accommodate all these students, we are very thankful for the show of support."
An honor roll student, as a junior Duncan caught 70 passes for the Hearts for 1,436 yards for an average of 110.5 yards per game and finished with 14 touchdowns. He was a unanimous choice for the All-Apollo Conference First Team.
The crash happened at about 6:15 p.m. Tuesday on 1550th Avenue, or West Evergreen Avenue, about three-quarters of a mile east of Nazarene Road in Summit Township, according to the Effingham County Sheriff's Office.
Police said Duncan was eastbound on West Evergreen in a 2007 Chevy when he lost control going down a hill, began to spin, and collided with a westbound 2020 Chevy operated by Gautamkymar V. Patel, 35, of Effingham. Duncan was cited for driving too fast for conditions, police said,
Neither Patel nor a passenger in the second vehicle were injured, police said.