FARMINGTON — A Mesa View Middle School seventh grader who suffered life-threatening injuries during a motocross race three months ago is getting better but isn't ready to go home yet, according to his family.
Twelve-year-old Sammy Cordova crashed his motorbike during a motocross race at Aztec Motocross Track on Nov. 9. He suffered multiple injuries, including a compound fracture of his left humerus, broken ribs, a punctured lung, a broken pelvis, a broken wrist, swelling around his heart and lung and swelling and bleeding of his brain.
After seven weeks in the intensive care unit at the University of New Mexico Hospital, Cordova was moved to the pediatric specialty unit. On Jan. 19, he moved again to UNM Carrie Tingley Hospital, where he is currently undergoing treatment.
Cordova, who has raced motorbikes since age 6, is ranked first in two racing classes in his age group and 85cc engine type.
Amanda Montano, Sammy's mother, had to take an extended leave from her job in Farmington to be with her son.
"Sammy is recovering from traumatic brain injury. But he is making small improvement. Every day, small improvements," Montano said. "He is awake a lot more. His eyes are open a lot more, with a little bit of tracking with his eyes over the last three weeks. We're under the impression he can see a little bit. Doctors are slowly weaning him off of medication."
Other positive signs are also emerging, Montano said.
"He's started his left arm pretty good," she said. "He has responded to the doctors pretty well, too. One of the doctors, she showed him a video on her phone. His eyes followed it."
An outpouring of support from the Four Corners after the accident has helped the family cover expenses and defray medical costs.
Rick "Tiny" Reed, a friend of the family, lives in Durango, Colo. After the accident, Reed collect donations and items from Durango businesses and auctioned them at a benefit race in Tularosa last fall.
Reed's 10-year-old nephew, Christopher Varner, raced with Sammy, Reed said.
"We're so sorry what happened," Reed said. "It is a sport of not if, but when. Everybody crashes. We know what it's about. If we don't let 'em do it, they'll just go and do it someplace else. We're praying for Sammy and hope he's back real soon."
Montano is grateful for the support her family has received since the accident.
An account, called The Sammy Cordova Benefit Fund, was opened at Wells Fargo Bank, Montano said. A Facebook page set up by a family friend with updates on Cordova's condition has more than 3,250 likes.
Cordova's 13th birthday is on Wednesday.
"Sammy has received a lot of wonderful support from the school system and numerous family and friends. It's really held me together, all the support and prayers," Montano said. "If the day ever comes that we get to move back and Sammy gets to go home, it will be wonderful. We all pray for that day. The main thing is that he is making progress, It is slow, but he is making progress."