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Two months after hit-and-run puts Buffalo boy in coma, Tremont comes home

Tremont is coming home.

Tremont "Trey" Seals, the little boy who suffered a traumatic brain injury in a Fourth of July hit-and-run crash, is expected to return to his Buffalo home for the first time Friday, just in time for his eighth birthday.

After spending a month at Women and Children's Hospital, Tremont has been at the Children's Institute of Pittsburgh since Aug. 7. There he learned all over how to walk and talk, feed himself and throw a ball.

He's made remarkable process. Tremont still has to wear a neck brace and his memory is not quite back to normal. He still has a feeding tube in his belly although he's been able to eat real food. But he's strong enough to go home now.

Back in July, when Tremont lay in a coma in the Buffalo hospital's pediatric intensive care unit, his face badly swollen and with a tangle of tubes helping him breathe, doctors tried to prepare his mother for the worst.

Tremont Seals, 7, on left, in an undated family photo and a photo of him in July in his hospital bed at Women and Children's Hospital in Buffalo. (Provided by the Seals family)

But Tameka Jones had faith and her Facebook posts over the last two months are a testament to her belief that her son would recover:

July 5 - When I got you dressed yesterday to enjoy the day who knew I would get that heart pounding phone call that my baby was hit by a car. I never felt so much pain in my life. To look at you in a coma knowing your fighting for your life makes me wish we could switch places. Trey your a strong lil guy I know you are. You have so many people that love you so we know your going to pull through. I love you with my whole life you got this baby. Prayer warriors lets go.

On the night of July 4th, Tremont, his brothers and sisters and his father were at a large, neighborhood Independence Day party at Trinidad Park, near Sisters Hospital in Buffalo. Hundreds were in attendance and the streets were packed with cars. As a DJ played music, rounds and rounds of fireworks of all kinds were set off from a concrete lot at the corner of Loring Avenue and Trinidad Place.

It was a little before 11:30 p.m. when someone realized Tremont was missing. A frantic search ended when, witnesses told The Buffalo News, a woman cried out: "There's a kid under a car!"

Tremont was lying on the roadway, under the front of a parked vehicle. He wasn't breathing. Police believe he was struck so hard that the impact threw him under the car.

Tremont's father, Richard Seals, ran to him and scooped him out from under the vehicle, a relative described.

Seals began performing CPR. Another relative ran over to help tend to the boy. Someone called 911 and an ambulance crew rushed him to Women and Children's Hospital.

Family keeps bedside vigil of Buffalo boy, 7, struck in hit-and-run accident

The prognosis wasn't good.

Tremont's parents took turns by his bedside, talking to him and praying for his recovery.

A week went by when the little boy opened his eyes.

July 11 - Can I tell yall how good god is! My son was Trey 7 years old was hit by a car on July 4th 2017 at a family picnic. The driver never stopped hit him and took off. He been in the Pediatric ICU for a week now seven days. The doctors said he will never be the same he had severe brain damage. Well god SHOWED UP AND IS SHOWING OUT. The doctor took the breathing tube out and I said I guarantee I will have to put it back in within 24 hours well its been 96 hours!!! The doctor said he will likely never make purposeful movements well he's responding to commands! The doctor said the the only reason he was moving his arms and legs was because of damage to his nerves well everytime he have a wet diaper he grab at it with his right hand to let them know he's wet! They hooked him up to a brain monitor last night and said he was going to keep it on long term well this morning when I got up to the hospital it was GONE! My prayer warriors keep praying lets go!!!!

Tremont's progress continued. He underwent surgery and was moved out of ICU. He could sit up, if propped up with lots of pillows, and sometimes smiled.

Jones shared a video of her son on July 27 in his hospital bed. Tremont seems to be staring blankly as a music plays on a cell phone next to his head. His mother dangles a miniature boxing glove from a string toward him.

"Come on. Grab it," she coaxes him.

Tremont reaches up weakly, but purposefully, with his hand and holds onto the glove.

"Hold it tight!" she tells him. "You gotta hold it tight."

He holds on for a few moments before his arms falls to his side. He reaches up again and holds on.

July 27 - But the doctors counted you out Trey! This video is from last night. Each day he is getting stronger and stronger. Lord thank you for everything that you have already done for my son and thank you in advance for your continuous healing of my child. You are a awesome god and always on time! In Jesus name AMEN. Let's go Trey.

Day by day, Tremont grew stronger, but there were some setbacks. Just before he was to go to rehabilitation in Pittsburgh, he came down with a fever. That delayed his trip about a week. But he was soon feeling better and impressing his doctors with his new abilities. He could lean forward and back and lift his head.

He arrived Aug. 7 in Pittsburgh and the next day, at the start of his rehab, he surprised his mother.

Aug. 8 - I walked in my baby said hi mom!! I can't even express the joy I feel. God you are amazing my goodness! Trey is talking everyone! Day one of therapy.

Jones was told her son would likely have to stay in Pittsburgh for two months. But Tremont's condition improved faster than expected. He took his first steps, at first with the assistance of a therapist, then with a walker.

He was soon able to pick up a foam ball and throw it into a hoop.

"Hi, Video," Tremont says in a video posted Aug. 14. He's lying in a bed, next to his mom.

"You played what today?" Jones asks.

"I played basketball," Tremont says slowly. "Ball," he repeats."

"Did you like it?" Jones asks.

"Mmhm," he says.

"What else did you do? You walked up what?"

"The stairs," Tremont says

"How many times?" Jones asks.

"Five."

"I don't think it was five," Jones says laughing. "I think it was two. Up down. Up down."

That day Tremont received exciting news, his mother explains in the video. In two days he was going to be allowed to try to eat some food.

His mother asks him if that makes him happy. He flashes a huge grin and nods.

Aug. 18 - Everday I go up to hospital sit with Tremont, take him in the playroom, feed him, toilet him, shower him and get him ready for bed. They even allow me to give him his meds through his Gtube. Once I get ready to leave after he settled for the night everytime I walk out his room he yells mom wait come back I have to ask you a question or say mom don't leave me yet. He literally does this like four times every night. It take so much in me to not burst out in tears. I get back to this little space and can't get Tremont off my mind. My body is tired but every other second I'm thinking about him.

Jones was going back and forth by Greyhound between Pittsburgh and Buffalo to take care of her four other children. She had taken a leave of absence from her health care job to devote all of her time to Tremont's recovery and to do what she could for the other kids. She joked with friends about wanting to get a pedicure during one of her short trips back to Buffalo. That never happened. But it didn't matter.

By the end of August, Tremont was standing with almost no assistance. Doctors said Tremont could go home Sept. 20. That day couldn't come soon enough.

Sept. 5 - Today was a bitter sweet day. It was nice to see all the kids first day of school pictures but it made me sad. My kids said they didn't want to take a picture until Trey came home😢 I can't wait to have all five of my kids home together again.

Two months had come and gone since Tremont's accident. Police had not made an arrest in the hit-and-run. A $1,000 reward was being offered by Crime Stoppers at 867-6161.

Then last weekend, Tremont's doctors had great news. His mother had him share it on Facebook live:

"Tremont, tell everyone what you gotta tell everybody," she says off camera.

Tremont looked stronger than ever. He's dressed in a T-shirt, shorts and sneakers. He still had a neck brace and there was a scar on his forehead. He was smiling.

"I'm going home soon," he says.

"You've got to talk louder," his mother says.

"I'm going home soon."

"When is soon?" she asks.

"Next year."

"No," she says. "When are you going home?

"Next week. Friday." Sept. 15.

She asks Tremont what he wants when he gets home.

"A remote control car."

It's not what she meant. "What do you want to eat, dude?

"Some shrimp," Tremont says.

"What else?"

"Some cake."

"What else?"

"And some french fries."

"Every day you want something different," Jones can be heard saying.

Tremont's recovery is far from over. In Buffalo, he'll have to continue outpatient therapy – both speech and occupational. He can do most things on his own, but he'll need supervision for a while, Jones said. He will have to use a hospital bed and a shower chair until he's steadier on his feet. His feeding tube can come out in a month if he's able to keep eating real food without any problem.

But he'll be home. And he's even expected to go back to school at Hamlin Park.

Tremont's grandparents are coming to pick them up in Pittsburgh on Friday. On Saturday, the family is planning a big welcome home party where he'll get to show off how far he's come since that terrible night.

In the Sept. 9 video, Tremont walks confidently. His mother can barely keep up with him he's moving so fast.

"I'm not even holding him now," Jones can be heard saying, her voice bursting with excitement. "As you can see I ain't holding him while he's walking. You got it. Right, Trey?"

"Yup," he beams. "I got it."

Tremont Seals, 7, who suffered a traumatic brain injury in a hit-and-run accident July 4, 2017, sits with his mom, Tameka Jones, at Pittsburgh Pediatric Institute on Aug. 13, 2017. (Provided photo)

 

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