Family members said Terry Don Dossey, 25, was working on an oil rig off state Road 128 (Jal Highway) when a high pressure line broke and the force knocked him to the ground and out of his boots, landing about 10 feet away.
Dossey lives with his grandparents, Georgia and Troy Hensley of Carlsbad. Georgia Hensley recently retired from the Current-Argus circulation department.
The Hensleys are in Lubbock with their grandson's mother, Roxanne Banks of Lovington. His father is Darrell Dossey, also of Lovington.
Terri Lesmeister, Dossey's aunt, said the accident happened around 5:30 p.m. last Thursday.
"Terry was knocked unconscious and came to for a couple of minutes at the rig site, but he has not regained consciousness since," she said. "Jal emergency services responded, but a helicopter was called to the rig site and he was flown to Lubbock."
Lesmeister said Dossey has serious head injuries, as well as a leg injury.
"When they got him to the hospital, he was taken into surgery to stabilize his leg. But when the neurosurgeon looked at the cut on his head and skull, he found the skull had imbedded into the main vein of his brain," Lesmeister explained. "When they removed the piece of skull, it caused the vein to bleed. They repaired it, but they are unable to put back the piece of his skull on his forehead.
Lesmeister, who lives next door to her parents and Dossey, said her nephew has had several strokes and swelling of the brain since the accident. A ventilator is helping him to breathe.
"The doctors are unable to tell us the extent of his brain damage. Until he wakes up, we don't have any definite answers. There is a possibility he may also be blind in one eye," she said. Lesmeister said her sister, a nurse, said her son has worked on rigs since he was 18 years old.
"Roxie said he couldn't wait to turn 18 and go to work on rigs," she said.
Dossey's accident brought back memories for the family from two years ago when Lesmeister's son, Luke who was 2 years old at the time ran in front of a trailer where his father and older brother were off-loading heavy pipe.
The pipe landed on his head, causing serious injury.
To the surprise of his doctors in Lubbock, the youngster made a full physical recovery.